Yahoo Mail's smart "contact cards" have been updated today to include support for Twitter and LinkedIn information. Through Yahoo's partnerships with these two social services, the contact cards, which appear when you hover over a person's name in a message, can now display a person's most recent tweets in addition to company, title, phone number and more.
Contact cards were first rolled out as an enhancement to Yahoo Mail in March, following competitor Google's revamp of its own Google Contacts service. The idea behind these cards - a system which is being powered by an earlier Yahoo acquisition called Xobni - is to offer additional data about the person you're emailing with by pulling in relevant information from outside sources as well as from your own inbox.
For example, the cards automatically update to include a contact's current phone number, which is extracted from past emails.
With the new Twitter and LinkedIn integrations, Yahoo says that it's now able to pull in names for email addresses as well as profile photos. It will display links to these social profiles, in addition to Facebook and Yahoo's photo-sharing service Flickr, which were previously supported.
With the Twitter integration in particular, a search in your inbox for a contact's name will display that person's tweets on the search results page. This same information will appear on their contact details page, too.
The update makes the contact cards feature more competitive with LinkedIn's own email plug-in Rapportive, which similarly displays a contact's information in your inbox, including their name, title, company and various social profiles. However, LinkedIn's product is only compatible with Gmail, which is likely why the company agreed to open up access to Yahoo.
However, the additions actually make Yahoo's overall system a bit more robust than that of Gmail inbox using LinkedIn's Rapportive . Now, not only does Yahoo Mail have the additional social profile data and recent tweets to display, a search for a contact also includes features that Rapportive lacks, like the ability to see who's often cc:ed on an email with that contact, or files that person has recently emailed you.
Of course, for Yahoo's system to work properly, the email address of the person you're checking out needs to be the one they've associated with their social profile. Users will also need to authenticate with Twitter and LinkedIn through Yahoo Mail's "Settings" section where the various social services can be connected.