Need a laptop? We’ve teamed up with Intel to bring you the HackCollege Laptop Chooser. If you share the Laptop Chooser, you’ll be entered to win a Intel Core i5-powered Samsung Series 9 Notebook!

With the ubiquity of social media today, more than ever, we deal with the search costs of finding people on not just Facebook, but also Twitter/LinkedIn/insert social media site here. That’s why I’m devoting this week’s Better Browsing to minimize those costs and make connecting with people as easy as possible. Rapportive, a Chrome/Firefox/Safari/Mailplane extension, puts all that social media information right in one place. Best of all, it’s free!

Replacing the ads you usually see to the right of your Gmail messages, Rapportive – 1) connects you with contacts on social networks, 2) allows you to easily map events and add them to your calendar, and 3) allows you to easily record notes associated with that contact. It’s super easy to install and use. There is literally no setup or options required. Just install the extension, go to Gmail, and off you go. Based on the sender’s email address, Rapportive automatically aggregates his/her information to form a rich contact profile that features easy access to social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many more). Now when you receive emails from whomever, immediately add them to your social network. This is incredibly useful for students trying to establish a large network to find a job. I love extensions that make life easier, and Rapportive does exactly that. Its only real limitation is that it doesn’t work outside of Gmail on your browser unless you use Mailplane (a Mail application for Mac OS X). But if you use Gmail and social networking in any capacity whatsoever, get Rapportive.

What do you think of Rapportive? Have you found any other extensions like it? Let us know in the comments!