Vibe provides a social snapshot for Gmail on Chrome

It’s a small thing, but immensely helpful to know something about people sitting in the to, form, or cc line of an email. So when I read about Vibe, I was interested in taking a look.

Vibe is the self-styled ‘fastest way to know everything about your contacts’.  A free Chrome plugin, Vibe will pull up contact info when you hover over any contact in Gmail, and place it in a hover display at the top of the chrome window, as I did here with David Card of GigaOM Research.

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I was hoping that the topics to the right would resolve to a list of people from my contacts who are techies, but it’s just passive labels. At the right below the Vibe window you see  similar info from Rapportive, and likewise the Google contact card in the center.

The various network icons bring up the contact’s profiles in various services, including David GigaOM profile, which frankly surprised me.

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Other people did not resolve as well in Vibe’s search. In fact, no other random person I picked from recent emails had anything like complete info. Here’s Dave Balter, which Rapportive pegged as the CEO of Smarterer and several previous jobs:

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The Bottom Line

I do think there is room in the social profile space, but Vibe doesn’t really levitate into that space as of yet.

What I would like to see is a sort of on-the-fly portfolio about the person with location, job, some background, and various public posts from Twitter, Instagram, or blogs. An ad hoc portfolio. That’s where I thought Rapportive was headed prior to and after their acquisition by LinkedIn, but basically they’ve added nothing since the acquisition.

Maybe Vibe is headed there, but it’s hard to say at this point.