Rapportive is still the best GMail enhancement despite evolving very little since its acquisition by LinkedIn nearly two years ago. The browser install provides rich contact information within GMail and I refuse to adopt any other GMail plugin that doesn’t play nicely with its right side display. My understanding is that the small team has been focused on other contact-based projects within LinkedIn but I’m hoping it gets revived at some point because there’s still nothing like it. I’ve got two requests:
1) Bug Fixes: Rapportive isn’t aging elegantly and I find that often it will display a “Connect” on LinkedIn, Facebook option for email addresses despite my already being connected to these folks (for those who haven’t used Rapportive, it supports 1-click Facebook and LinkedIn invite actions. If you’re already connected to someone it’s supposed to show that status). I’ve heard stories about LinkedIn’s management team obsessively logging bug reports on the product – it’s great to have executives so focused on usability. Let’s get Rapportive back up to speed and rebrand it LinkedIn Contacts, or whatever.
2) Take LinkedIn Across the Web With Me: On any webpage, I want names highlighted on page (or expandable notification alert in browser chrome) when there’s someone mentioned I’m connected with on LinkedIn or a Friend of a Friend connection. There’s some meaningful tech work to be done here around recognizing names, surfacing the right LinkedIn profile when there are multiple people with the same name, etc but think of the utility – you’re reading about someone and – boom – realize you’re one degree connected, right click to send InMail. You’re looking at GitHub and can see who you’re connected to (as LinkedIn allows you to connect other accts to their service and scans for these domain specific user names). My main data man DJ Patil isn’t at LinkedIn anymore (interestingly enough he’s at RelateIQ building Relationship Intelligence) but still tons of smart engineers at LI. Deep, Jeff, Kevin – whatcha think?