Public Data in your Email


I’ve been playing around a bit with Rapportive lately. It’s a web service that lets you see information about the sender of an email based on publicly available social media profiles. It works on top of Gmail. If you’re using Rapportive and see an email from me, it’ll show you a picture of me alongside my work history from LinkedIn, my recent twitter activity, and a picture of me.

People put a lot of information about themselves online through the use of social media, but they also pop up in databases the government provides, too. So when we heard Rapportive was offering the ability for developers to create third party raplets we decided to throw something together.

Our raplet(SPOILER ALERT) is based on Our raplet searches for the name of the sender in the last election cycle, and– since we can’t tell an exact match with any level of real precision– it gives you a list of the names it found for you to select from. You can then click on the links it gives you to run a full search if you’d like.

Since we recently added lobbying data to TransparencyData the raplet does a quick search to see if the sender is a registered lobbyist too. Just for fun.

This is an experiment– since we’ve basically built an extension of an extension, it’s kind of hard to support this as a major product. But if you’d like to try it out for yourself, here’s how:

  1. You’ll need to get the Rapportive Firefox or Chrome browser extension.
  2. Once installed, log in to Rapportive in Gmail.
  3. Go to the Add Raplets page, and click on the “ADD THIS” button next to “Custom Raplet”.
  4. Paste in this URL:
  5. Reload gmail.

You should get something like this

We’ll be playing around with it and seeing what happens. Now you can too. You’ll start seeing the campaign contributions of your friends pop up in your gmail if they made any above $250 in the 2008 election cycle. And if your friend is a registered lobbyist, it’ll tell you that too.

Let us know what you think, and give Sunlight Labs developer Jeremy Carbaugh a pat on the back for putting this together so quickly.