Gmail is one one of the best web based email services available today. Your email address with Gmail opens up a world of free online services for you.
You can get a lot done with your Gmail Id. Plan your schedule with Google Calendar, edit and share documents with Google Docs, stay updated with latest news in Google Reader and share stuff with your friends with Google Buzz.
Although Gmail is great, its not really perfect. Google has been planning to incorporate Social CRM features in Gmail and other services, but has not launched any of these features yet. However, you can get these features in your Gmail Inbox right now, thanks to an innovative and useful service called Rapportive.
Which Social Features does Rapportive bring to Gmail:
Rapportive is a browser plugin that provides dynamic contact information whenever you read an email. The contacts Social Networking profiles are listed in the right sidebar, where you usually see the ads. If available, it also pulls in the profile picture and a short bio.
Although the service aims to be more into CRM, currently the CRM related features are quite limited. Its more of a Social Networking Plugin than CRM right now. But the service is relative new and they plan to include more CRM features with time.
Rapportive Usage and Settings:
You can start using Rapportive once you install the browser plugin from the Rapportive website. Its available for Firefox and Chrome. Once installed you can sign in to Rapportive with your GMail address.
Just click on Rapportive link next to your email address displayed in the top right corner and Log in.
Rapportive uses your Gmail Id to sign in, so there is no need to create an account with the service.
Editing Your Rapportive Profile:
If you send an email to anyone using Rapportive, they can see your profile in their Inbox. You can edit how your profile looks, and control some of the information that is shared.
Just click the “Edit my Rapportive Profile” link to get started.
Example of Rapportive in action in my Gmail Inbox:
The information that is seen for any contact is publically available on their Social Media Profiles. Rapportive just compiles the information and presents it right in your Gmail Inbox.
Now, whenever I receive an email from a contact, I can see links to his Social Networking Profiles and can connect with him there. At the bottom I can add some information regarding the contact, which is completely private. So If you have a lot of contacts in GMail, this feature can be really handy.
Let us know how you like this service and if you would like to see any improvements or feature additions in the comments section below.