Introducing Rapportive: Big Brother's Little Helper
Hot on the heals of the Facebook privacy flap and the Google Buzz introduction debacle comes a nifty little Trojan horse app for Gmail called Rapportive.
Rapportive scours the web for info on incoming email senders and prints a short bio and profile in your righthand sidebar while you're checking your mail. But wait, while it snoops on them, it is also broadcasting about you as well. Better watch what you Tweeted today when the boss gets your email from home.
Masquerading as Customer Relations Management (CRM) software, Rapportive uses the RapLeaf database to search incoming email addresses through the various social networks on the web for its information and you'll be surprised what it digs up about you, well before you'll be wowed by the professional accolades of your latest Nigerian princess.
But it's an easy install and you'll be pleased as Inspector Clouseau just to know you got the jump on your stalkers before they ever blurted a digital word at you.
According to the Rapportive website they source their data only from Gravatar, RapLeaf and Twitter, but once you see what comes up, you'll want to look into those services a little more closely. Did I ever give RapLeaf permission to spray my details all over the web? No, but Facebook did, and Mark Zuckerberg's not hearing any of your whining about that, is he?
All that good fun aside, Rapportive is valuable and you can edit the details it rapports on you - just go to your own profile in your own sidebar, hover over the offending info (that you provided to someone by the way) and click edit or delete. Voila! You are now in partial control of your own destiny. Zuckerberg controls the rest.
For all the power the web has given us, never forget that it takes a little in return. The folks at Rapportive threaten to introduce more features and functions as time goes on. Just make sure you get the jump on them before they get the jump on you. Sign up, edit accordingly and get that Trojan installed correctly.