Have you ever received an email and wondered if it was legitimate or not? Or maybe you have corresponded with someone and were curious to know more about them. Of course you could ask, but it might come across awkward or simply off-topic to what is being discussed. Plus, do you really want to ask each person you encounter online through email what their social accounts are, what they do, where they’re from and so on? Likely not. Three entrepreneurs also saw this problem and wanted to do something about it – thus Rapportive was born.
Since its accidental launch it has built quite the online reputation for itself and its thousands, if not millions, of users. That’s right – Rapportive isn’t just for finding out who your connections are, but it can help you improve your reputation as well. Here’s how.
Flawless Gmail Integration
As you can see in the screenshot above, Rapportive’s Gmail integration is practically flawless. In fact, I don’t see how they could make it any better – it’s already perfect. But I doubt they’ll stop improving it – they have a great team behind it.
The extension actually replaces ads in Gmail with your contact’s information. Of course, Google has done this now too to some extent, but not to the level or thoroughness of Rapportive and therefore Rapportive instead integrated itself within Google’s changes instead of just overwriting them – tells a lot about the company if you ask me.
Rapportive has integrated the Gmail People Widget: http://bit.ly/kMSemR … you need not choose :D — @rahulvohra
— Rapportive (@rapportive) June 2, 2011
Privacy Of Rapportive Explained
At first while writing this article I was planning to save this section for later, but I began to realize how pertinent understanding Rapportive’s stance on privacy was and that with each section your concern would grow and grow – likely inhibiting you from comprehending all that Rapportive has to offer.
I won’t be able to go into all of the privacy features of Rapportive – that’s what their privacy page is for and I encourage you to read it whether you’re concerned about your privacy or not. My goal for this section is to simply help you understand where Rapportive gets their information. Understand that Rapportive does not take your information, they simply use what you have allowed to be displayed publicly. If you are concerned what can be accessed (or what is being accessed) look into the privacy settings of your online accounts.
Below is a quote from Rapportive’s privacy page concerning the distinction they make between public and private information.
We make a clear distinction between:
- Public data, which is information that users have chosen to make public on the internet, and which anyone could find on one of the major search engines. We aggregate public data, take into account corrections and feedback, and show this information to everyone who uses Rapportive.
- Private data, which is privileged information to which only you have access. In order to provide the Rapportive service, we may need to process this data behind the scenes; however, private data will never be shown or disclosed to any other Rapportive user or any third party (unless you explicitly ask us to share it).
Hopefully that clears up any concern you might have, but once again, I encourage you to look into the privacy page on their site yourself to address any more questions, concern or curiosity.
The Core Features
With privacy concerns out of the way, let’s explore the features that make Rapportive the unique tool that it is. First and foremost, the biggest feature in Rapportive is the overall ability to connect with your contacts in more ways than one.
View Personal Info
Part of the information displayed on your Rapportive profile for others to see is your picture, location, what you do and where you work. Again, these things are only displayed if they’re public on other profiles or if you’ve added them manually to Rapportive.
Rapportive digs through its sources to display other profiles the email address is associated with. Rapportive recognizes most social profiles. If it displays one that you don’t want it to, you can easily remove it. Or, if it didn’t detect one that you want to be displayed with your profile to other Rapportive users, you can add those too by entering the exact link to that social profile. For Twitter and Facebook it will even display the latest posts if hovered over or clicked.
Extension Of An Extension: Raplets
Rapportive has “extensions” which it calls Raplets. They aren’t really extensions in the way we often think of extensions, but more so a way to connect Rapportive with other contact-based services such as MailChimp and CrunchBase. Other services which it integrates with include BookingBug, Bantam Live, Brightpearl and BatchBook.
To see all of the available Raplets, click on Rapportive in Gmail (once it’s installed) and click “Add Raplets” in the dropdown menu.
Adding Notes To Contacts
The last main feature of Rapportive is the ability to append notes to a contact so that whenever they email you again, you see that note along side the email.
Also, if you notice in the screenshot above – Rapportive also displays the most recent emails which you have exchanged with that person.
Overall, I’d say the best feature though is that your contacts don’t have to have Rapportive for you to benefit from its features.
Customer service is often forgotten about, especially with free extensions and services, but Rapportive has done the complete opposite. Where many services fail to be accessible at all for help, Rapportive’s very own CEO welcomes you to contact him about issues. Of course you can contact anyone on the Rapportive staff and they will be more than happy to help you.
I speak from firsthand experience whenever I say that they make your user experience even more enjoyable and in some ways, you wish you could know them better.
If you’re curious, send Rahul, Martin or Sam an email or tweet and see for yourself how they make your Rapportive experience even more enjoyable.
My Own Personal Experience
For me, Rapportive has become a part of Gmail. I can’t imagine email without it. If I check my Gmail on a public computer, I often have a mental breakdown wondering what happened to my account because my much-needed contact extension is missing. OK, so that’s a slight exaggeration, but it certainly makes me appreciate it more.
In all honesty though, I have tried other similar tools such as Gist and Smartr Inbox and neither of them have given me the lasting impression that Rapportive has. It has become one of my favorite Chrome extensions and a Gmail necessity for productivity, but also just an all around awesome tool.
Lastly, one use that I have found it particularly nice for is getting just a little familiar with people before I meet them and there’s no other time that is more important than with Craigslist. We all know that Craigslist is a great site, but it also has some sketchy people and although there are ways that you can improve your experience on there, Rapportive is a nice asset to see how “real” that person is.
Most people use the same email for their Facebook so you can at least get a good sense of what they look like from their picture. In fact, Justin wrote an excellent article on how Rapportive can help review a sender’s reputation – which is exactly what I’m referring to.
In closing, Rapportive certainly isn’t the only tool for contact management in Gmail, but is certainly one of the best and in many users’ opinions, it is the best.
Have you tried Rapportive yet? If so, what do you think of it? Looking forward to your thoughts in the comments below!