If you used to swear by Rapportive, you must have been bummed out for the past few months. Rapportive, the plugin for Gmail that gave you contextual information about any contact was bought by LinkedIn and basically had all of its great features stripped.
But since then, a lot of other players have tried their hand at this game. It looks like FullContact is the one that’s actually as good as Rapportive and in some cases, even better.
What is FullContact?
FullContact is a Chrome extension (Firefox and Safari support coming soon) that plugs into Gmail’s web interface and gives you basically everything publicly known about the email address in a neat looking sidebar.
It is the best tool for either stalking or productivity, depending how you look at it. Here at Guiding Tech we pride ourselves for getting work done rather than stalking, so we’ll focus on the productivity features.
After you install the extension you’ll need to sign in using your Google account. This will give FullContact full access to your contacts (maybe that’s where the name comes from?).
Where it does work though is the conversation view. When you open a thread or an email you’ve just received, the sidebar will show information like their full name, the company they work for, a description of their company, and a lot more.
You’ll also see links for basically every social network they use. So you’ll find their LinkedIn, Quora, and even Instagram account right there.
Speaking of social media, there’s a whole different pane where you can sign in using your Facebook and Twitter accounts and check out the contact’s latest posts.
How is FullContact Useful?
FullContact sure looks good, but is it really useful to you or your business? Good question.
The Notes field is useful if you just want to jot down some thoughts about the contact. Like what kind of conversation starter works with the client or their favorite football team.
FullContact is also useful to check a person’s legitimacy. Is the guy offering you the too-good-to-be-true deal? Unsure if the person you’re talking to is real or not? Clicking through to their Instagram account should surely help prove that.
The Facebook and Twitter plugin might seem like a gimmick but after connecting the accounts you’ll be able to see the contact’s timeline and interact with them without ever leaving Gmail. In the times where a tweet would do, why send an email?
Other than this, FullContact also has buttons to start a Hangout, save the email as a contact, and more. And of course, all of this is backed up to your FullContact account that you can then access via the web.
The Premium Plan
The free FullContact account lets you store 5000 contacts. Which is a lot, even for a small business. If you want to increase the cap to 25,000 and add more features like real-time updates and business card transcriptions, you can upgrade to the premium plan for $9.99.
What’s Your Email Workflow?
How do you access email? Do you only need Chrome and 8 hours of battery life to be productive? Or do you have special apps set up with your own little workflows and shortcuts? Let us know in the comments below.