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Me and You and Everyone We Know

Sometimes it gets hard seeing eye to eye with email’s contacts system. For every “user@domain” there is information that can be found elsewhere – but you’ll have to be the one doing the finding.

Even when reduced to its simplest tasks and systematized, organizing your contacts can be a real pain. You have to pluck information from sources such as emails, social networks, business cards, or even elusive post-its.

Even after you have managed to build a solid database on your email client, there remain a few problems: what about multiple contacts for the same person? and what communications are best sent to which of those addresses? We tend to rely on a person’s email signature to discover job title, telephone numbers, or organization. But this data can be retrieved easily using only the email address, and not relying on the usefulness of a signature.

A possible solution seems to present itself: integration with third party software. Rapportive is one such example, a plugin that mines LinkedIn information concerning that email address. At a glance, every email comes with a photo, job title, and organization of the contact in question.*

Whereas this last method seems to draw from a large pond with a straw, the Front app presents a different perspective: sharing a pool of contacts within an organization. This front-desk simulacrum intends to cut back in the all too familiar detective work that takes place when a client’s email needs to be fished out from colleagues.

Whichever the avenue, it seems clear that there’s work being done to improve on contact database building, and as such an integration of these efforts could save us all a lot of work – but also make authentication a bit more immediate.