Send your Facebook friends real gifts through their Timelines
The network rolls out its own service for users to give real-world gifts with virtual sentiments.
Facebook rolled out a new gift-giving service today that lets its users buy real gifts for friends through the social network.
The gifts -- which include items like cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, a stuffed animal from Gund, or a digital gift card from Starbucks -- can be sent from a user's birthday reminders or from a friend's timeline. Other gifts, plucked from more than 100 retailer partners, include fresh flowers, a bacon of the month club, and an Uber cab ride.
It's a big step for Facebook, which is feeling pressure from investors to find news ways of making money. The company's stock finished at $20.32 today, down from its opening day high earlier this year of $45. With Wall Street on its back, the social network is creating an e-commerce system within its own world, one you can bet doesn't have room for the likes of retail giants like Amazon or eBay.
Not only does this give Facebook another revenue stream, it potentially lets the social network show off some mobile chops. Adding the feature on mobile -- if it actually functions smoothly -- lets the company cash in on the growing mobile shopping market,.
Facebook launches this service afterin May. The mobile-only Karma provided users gift-giving options through an app.
Facebook's not revealing how much money it's making off each sale, except to say "we have a sliding scale that varies based on the product and partner." The service -- which is available on Android devices, the mobile Web, and the desktop -- is rolling out in the U.S. first. It will come to iOS devices in a few weeks, a Facebook representative said.
Other real gifting services on Facebook, like Boomerang, must be shaking in their boots. Here's a competing service that is seamlessly integrated into Facebook's system.or
Update, 3:18 p.m. PT: Adds more details.