If email management is something you’re struggling with there are a number of browser plugins that will help you avoid that feeling of email overload.

One such plugin that the team here at Sanebox are very impressed with comes from the crew at Rapportive. This Gmail and Google Apps plugin is a free add-on that works with Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Mailplane.

The clue to the thinking behind how this plugin works lies in the developers name, Rapportive. This email management system is all about developing a rapport with your list of contacts.

This is relationship management built into email. Rapportive succeeds in this aim by showing you detailed information about contacts. You can see what they look like via their social profile image, what their occupations are and where they are based.


Any other information entered by your contacts will also be displayed. It will also show you a list of recent emails from contacts. Another feature of this lightweight plugin is the ability to view the profiles of other recipients of the same email. To view the details of the other recipients, just hover your mouse over the image and hey presto! This information is displayed in a sidebar when you open your email.

You establish a rapport by mentioning shared interests and start communicating with your contacts personally.

You can develop your network by connecting on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and other such media. Rapportive supports adding links from over two hundred platforms ranging from OBoxer to Zerply. Getting things done in networking is far less time-consuming when using this very effective plugin.

Your own profile displays only the information you want to show. This information can be easily edited at any stage including adding and removing accounts.

A noteable feature of this gmail plugin is the ability to turn your gmail into a Twitter client. When this feature is activated you will be able to view Tweets from your list of contacts as well as reply and retweet.

If you use different email addresses Rapportive will easily deal with them, either individually or collectively. Hover your mouse over the menu at the top of your Gmail and click on “Claim your email addresses”. Rapportive will then validate the addresses. You are then provided with the option of combining your profile for all addresses or editing the profiles individually.

There is no information overload when installing or uninstalling rapportive. Installation is a breeze. Search for the proper extension for your browser e.g. “Rapportive extension for Chrome”. To check if the installation went smoothly just open your email account and you should see a narrow Rapportive column to the right of a conversation.

Uninstalling Rapportive is also a simple task. To uninstall in Chrome just click on the “spanner/wrench” symbol next to the address bar, then click on “Tools”, then “Extensions”. Then click on the uninstall Rapportive option. The uninstall process is similar for other browsers. The option to disable the pluign rather that uninstalling it is also provided.

For many users of Gmail, privacy is an issue. This email plugin does not use your password as it uses Gmail’s OpenID system. Google provides Rapportive with a token containing details such as your name and preferred language. Rapportive does not see your password.

You won’t experience inbox zero but you will certainly be making better use of your email contacts. If you are looking for an “all in one” type system to manage your social contacts this method of email management might be what you need.

Fans of the organizational method of “Getting Things Done” by productivity consultant Dave Allen will love this tool. With this plugin you do not need to remember all those contact details you just need to GTD. Email overload might actually become useful.

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