Enter Rapportive. Rapportive is a Firefox and Chrome extension that integrates social and CRM tools right into your browser. Even though it's early days, it's awesome! Take a look at the image below. Mike sent me an email and taking the place of the Gmail ads Rapportive displays:
- a photo of Mike that they've pulled from a social network,
- his job role (though this data is a little old as it's showing his previous role at Google),
- links to his social network pages in case I want to learn more about him, and
- a note I've made to myself about Mike.
Naturally they're only using data that people have made publicly available, and they're doing an impressive job pulling data from all these different sources. Rapportive only launched very recently and it's still early days so the service doesn't work perfectly. There are also lots of things they could add. A feature I'd love to see is a link to previous email threads I've had with a particular customer. Judging by their suggestions from other users list they'll be adding a lot more features soon. So if you're using Gmail to communicate with customers, I'd recommend trying it out!