As the pace of life increases, so does the number of people we encounter daily both offline and (mostly) online. Keeping track of everyone whose contact information you may need later is a difficult task ripe for disruption. This has already brought to the market plenty of enterprise and consumer-grade startups, from FullContact, to Nimble, to Rapportive (bought by LinkedIn in 2012).

A recent addition to the list of products making it easier to get extended info on your contacts is Vibe. Released by India-based startup Profoundis Labs, the freemium service shows you a wealth of data about anyone with an online presence just by hovering his or her email address. “Everything” includes name, location, job, social network accounts, short biography (taken from one of their social accounts), and topics of interest.

vibe2 730x186 Find the person behind an email address with Vibe for Mac and Chrome

Available as a Chrome extension and a standalone application for Mac OS, Vibe can be described as ‘Rapportive made right’, at least from the design and UI standpoint. The Chrome version obviously works only with email addresses shown in the browser, while the Mac app can be used across the entire desktop.

Just like other similar solutions, Vibe looks up email addresses through APIs of most popular social networks to retrieve links to profiles and homepages, as well as short biographies of people. At the moment, the quality of data retrieved is not perfect — for me, it got both location and working place wrong, while for some addresses it found no info at all.

vibe3 730x157 Find the person behind an email address with Vibe for Mac and Chrome

It did much better job with Martin and Boris from TNW though (even if Martin’s bio was out of date and it included his Google Reader profile, which isn’t much use these days).

Vibe 220x328 Find the person behind an email address with Vibe for Mac and Chrome

The data quality will hopefully be improved in time, and it would be good if it prioritized fresh account bios over old ones. Obviously, Vibe can’t look up people who haven’t tied any social profiles to an email address. Still, it’s a useful way of breaking Rapportive-style people-search out of your email app and making it system-wide on the Mac, or Web-wide in the case of the Chrome version.

People and money

“Accidentally launched” about two weeks ago, Vibe has already attracted some 2,500 users across the two platforms it’s available for, Profoundis co-founder and COO Jofin Joseph told me. By signing up for the free version, users receive 30 look-ups for 30 days, after which the credit is decreased to 10 look-ups per month. You can also pay $5 for 1,000 look-ups in 30 days, or $25 for 9,000 look-ups in 180 days.

Profoundis’ team is clearly marketing the solution to sales people, and has an extension for Salesforce CRM is coming soon. There are currently more than 70 paying users, Joseph said, although most of the people who have signed up stick to their free quota.

In addition to multiple CRM extensions, the team has mobile versions in the pipeline.

“With mobile, we also plan to open up APIs to integrate with existing apps so that app builders can use the Vibe data to give contextual information within their apps,” Joseph explained. “For example, a calendar app can use data from Vibe to give context information about a person before the user goes into a meeting.”

➤ Vibe [Chrome | Mac OS X]