I have a Gmail account but I rarely use it for anything other than testing. But I have to say, there are so many good free and low-cost add-ons that it makes me, a longtime desktop Outlook user, very jealous. Organizational tools, ticklers, self-destructing emails…
And being a cloud based service means it’s so much easier to integrate with other cloud services like automation tools (IFTTT or Zapier), services like DropBox or Box, social networks, CRM apps – you name it, Gmail integrates with it.
That said, some of the Gmail add-ons are downright creepy. And with unfettered access to anything on the internet, advances in natural language processing and artificial intelligence, expect them to get even creepier. But for now, here’s my list of creepy Gmail add-ons.
Developed by LinkedIn, Rapportive is a free browser extension that works with your Gmail account. As you go through your mail, it checks LinkedIn, displays any found profile and lets you know if you’re connected or not. The Rapportive pane also shows other ways to connect (e.g., Twitter) and a list of any shared connections.
Convenient, not creepy, you say? This “profile finding” technology can go well beyond social network activity. Take a look at this video’s futuristic dating scene (at 2:43) for how far this could go.
This Chrome browser extension (formerly known as HubSpot Signals) works with Gmail and a few other cloud based providers like Salesforce and Outlook.com – and, apparently, with desktop Outlook. As with Rapportive, you can see social profiles – but not just LinkedIn – and the contact’s latest activity. You can also schedule emails.
The creepy part is that you can see who opens your emails and what they click on. Sure, you can see that activity in your email marketing but Rapportive displays it in real time. That means you can react to their actions with a call…or something…
The agents – young and old – I told about this feature were speechless – and not because they were impressed. They knew if they could see other people’s actions, that others could see theirs as well.
A free (for the moment) plugin for Gmail, Crystal analyzes you and your contacts to develop personality styles the software uses to make communication recommendations. As you type, Crystal kicks in and provides you with a list of suggested changes to your email that you can use or ignore. You can also see a profile of commonalities you have with your contacts – or complete strangers – to give you an idea of how you’d work together.
Crystal relies on personality detection technology that scours your emails and public information about you and your contacts (and everyone else’s). Developed by Harvard Labs, Crystal’s intent is to provide instant empathy and understanding all for the purpose of creating better relationships.
So what’s wrong with a more efficient way to communicate that reduces your interpersonal learning curve? We’re talking about engineered relationships! It’s just a step away from letting the machines do all that interpersonal stuff. So much for humanity…
If you use any of these, let me know what you think of them and if you find them useful. Promise I won’t judge…