July 22, 2011

Rapportive – Get to Know Your Contacts

Within the Contacts section of Gmail, you’ve taken the time to build a database of information about all the people you communicate with regularly – from business titles and phone numbers, to Twitter handles and profile photos. Rapportive is a tool that brings that content to the forefront. Gmail users who take advantage of Rapportive can see all the important information about a contact automatically next to any incoming emails from that person.

Rapportive can help you save time, build better relationships, and communicate more effectively. It does this by taking all the contact information you have saved over the years and putting the most relevant personal details right next to the emails you’re reading. Let’s say you just received an email from a former colleague you haven’t spoken to in years. Without Rapportive, you might search through your Gmail Contacts to see the person’s professional titles and geographic location, and possibly even Google the person looking for a photo as a way to jog your memory. If you used Rapportive, you would be able to find out all of this information instantly by glancing to the right of the email on your screen. Rapportive places all of a sender’s personal information on the screen alongside any email that comes from him or her, making it easy to determine where the person is located, what he or she does for a living, and which social networks he or she belongs to. You can see all of this person’s most recent tweets without leaving the page, and connect via Skype or LinkedIn with one simple click.

In addition to facilitating conversations and building relationships, Rapportive also helps people grow their own social networks. In just a few simple clicks, users can add their email contacts as friends on Facebook or start following them on Twitter. Even better, all of Rapportive’s information is placed on the right hand side of the Gmail screen – essentially covering up the contextual ads that Gmail usually places in that very same spot.

Practical Uses:

  • Gauge your boss’ mood by checking his most recent tweets before replying to an email
  • Get a colleague’s Skype number without having to leave the page you’re on
  • Look at a photo of an acquaintance if you’re having a hard time remembering who he or she is from the name alone
  • See where a business associated is located and grab a drink if she’s nearby

Insider Tips:

  • Rapportive works as a browser add-on
  • Gmail users don’t have to give Rapportive their password to use the service
  • Type in a note under any contact’s personal information to reference later
  • Rapportive offers an API that developers can use to pull information to their own databases

What we liked:

  • Rapportive uses data from Gmail Contacts, rather than requiring you to input contact information twice
  • Rapportive is a great solution for people who have a hard time remembering personal information about people they meet at networking events
  • Gmail users don’t have to hand over their sensitive passwords to use Rapportive
  • The most recent tweets from your contacts show up to the right of their emails

What we didn’t like:

  • Rapportive is only available for Gmail users


Company Info:

  • Launched: March 2010
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • Founded by: Rahul Vohra, Martin Kleppmann, Rahul Vohra, and Sam Stokes
  • Web site:


  • Free


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