Rapportive is a browser plugin for Chrome, Safari and Firefox that automatically adds a dynamic social sidebar window to your Gmail inbox so you can immediately see what people look like, where they’re based, and what they do.
It shows you everything about your contacts in the window — from LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and more, often accompanied by a photograph — right in your inbox.
The sidebar replaces Google’s contextual ads. Win-win.
A few months ago, I downloaded the Chrome browser extension and integrated it with my Google Apps email and after the initial creep factor at seeing images and activity of just about everyone in my email inbox, it’s become something of a social relationship manager. When I get an email, I see the sender’s social media profiles and activity in the Rapportive window and I get to send a more informed, contextual email. Have a Twitter account? I can now follow and retweet you right from my inbox. Awesome.
It’s a particularly useful tool for building out your LinkedIn network. Let’s face it, with Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, most of us bypass LinkedIn, or stop by infrequently. Now with Rapportive, you can make meaningful connections right from your inbox.
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Note that although the Rapportive doesn’t have access to your password since it uses a secure login, it does have access to the content of your email. Of course, Google has had the same access all along. The terrific service outweighed any concerns I had about this.
Give it a try. I think you’ll find it very useful.