Rapportive used to be a fantastic Gmail plugin that gave you lots of context about the people you were in contact with, as a sidebar next to every email. After LinkedIn acquired it, it started to lose a lot of what made is so useful and many still wish they could go back to the ‘classic’ version.
In fact, the folks at contact management startup FullContact (including my former TNW colleague Brad McCarty) missed it so much that they’ve gone and built a new Gmail plugin for Chrome that’s actually better than classic Rapportive.
It’s got all the data you’d expect – photo, job title, location, social profiles… and then it goes so much further.
There are neat touches like the current time in the person’s home timezone (perfect for knowing that you’re really not likely to get a response if it’s 2am on a Sunday), there’s a tab that features their Twitter and Facebook activity (although you’ll have to connect your accounts with those services to Twitter and Facebook in order to get those details).
A company tab, meanwhile, tells you more about the person’s place of work. Amusingly, the person’s Klout score is featured next to their photo too, if for some reason you still care about such a thing.
Finally, there are handy shortcuts to add a person to your Contacts, create a calendar invite with them or open a Google Hangout with them.
A tool like this is only worthwhile if it works with the majority of people who contact you. I get a LOT of email and only saw a couple of occasions where the tool didn’t pull back full, or near-full details for a person.
So, what’s in this for FullContact? For one, it gets more users signed up for its free service. But also, if you access the details of more than 5,000 people (that’s 5,000 people, NOT just 5,000 total address lookups), you’ll have to pay $10 per month. I imagine a lot of journalists will be paying up, then, but most people should fly way below the 5,000 people free limit.
FullContact’s plugin really does make Gmail better in a way that Rapportive did when I first used it, but in a very ‘2014’ manner. The only problem is that between this enhancing browser-based Gmail, Dropbox’s Mailbox and Google’s own Inbox app, there are almost too many great, competing ways to use Gmail these days. Competition’s a good thing though, right?
➤ FullContact [Chrome extension]
Read next: Apple wins iPod & iTunes antitrust case