Amazon friends Facebook to offer gift ideas

New deal between the companies enables Amazon shoppers to receive product recommendations for themselves and their friends based on their Facebook profiles.

Amazon

Looking for the right gift for your favorite Facebook friend? A new service from the team of Amazon and Facebook can recommend the right products for shoppers by peeking at their Facebook profiles.

Launched as a beta on Monday, the new opt-in service will suggest gifts for your friends by checking out their favorite movies, music, books, and other items derived from their Facebook accounts. And if you're in the mood to buy something for yourself, Amazon also looks at your own Facebook profile to suggest products that might interest you.

You can try out the service by browsing to Amazon's recommendations page where you'll see the "Tap into Your Facebook Network" pane on the right. Click on the Sign in and Connect button. After you confirm your Amazon credentials, a window pops up describing the service and asking you to connect with Facebook.

A Facebook page warns you what content you'll be sharing with Amazon, including your basic profile information, your friends' lists, and your friends' profile information. If you opt in, Amazon then fills the recommendations page with products popular among your Facebook friends and items you may want to buy for yourself based on your own interests.

The page also displays a list of friends with upcoming birthdays so you know who to put on your immediate shopping list. You can also see a list of all your friends. Clicking on the name of any friend displays that person's interests and favorite items from Facebook to help you pick out the right gift, and of course buy it on Amazon.

You can also view that person's Amazon Wish List if one exists. But I did find one bit of a limitation here. Amazon tries to find the wish list for one of your friends based solely on name. So if your friend has a common name and few details, you may have to wade through dozens of wish lists before finding the right one.

Aware of obvious privacy concerns, Amazon promises not to share your account information or buying history with Facebook or attempt to contact your Facebook friends. What if you decide to cancel the service after trying it out? You can disconnect from it, which removes any Facebook content from your Amazon account.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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