Functioning in much the same way Xobni does for Microsoft Outlook, Rapportive serves as an add-on for Firefox, Safari, Mailplane, and Chrome browsers to enhance Gmail. Rapportive adds social networking aspects to your Gmail pane by kicking out the Google text ads and making the space more functional.
When you’re looking at a message, it will display a brief bio of the person and picture from their social networks. It can also enable you to follow them on their various social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or others, based on their e-mail address. If you create an account with Rapportive, you can also add notes about the person like where you met or things you discussed, allowing Rapportive to serve somewhat like a CRM tool.
Here you can see the plugin in action, thanks to an image from the Rapportive site. I’d demonstrate my own screenshot but I’d have to sanitize the e-mail and so far few of my contacts use the same e-mail address to contact me as well as to sign up for these other sites. Although it does work well with e-mails from other sites like Amazon or it will grab a quick description of a site if the e-mail comes from a custom domain.
You can even make the Rapportive sidebar even more useful by adding custom apps inside of it like MailChip, Bantam Live, BatchBook, BookingBug, Brightpearl, and CrunchBase.
Rapportive integrates with your email, and we understand that this carries a great responsibility. We respect the fact that your email may contain very personal or sensitive information, and we will do everything we can to make sure that it is safe.
It’s a good start and continues that way.
The only thing I will miss in the Gmail sidebar is the times it automatically picks up a tracking number and makes a link to the site’s tracking info. Other than that, Rapportive is making the area much more functional with no down-sides. Xobni for Outlook used an additional process that could consume a pretty good amount of resources – Rapportive is like a standard plugin inside of Firefox and loads the sidebar independent of the rest of the page. Check out Rapportive to see if it fits within your workflow when checking Gmail or improves it.