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Amazon's universal wish list lets you add products from any site

Amazon is taking over your online shopping no matter where you are, with a new universal wish list that lets you add products from any site. Is it a wish come true?

Amazon has introduced a universal wish list, taking over your online shopping even when you're on other sites. Click the universal wish list button when you spot something you fancy, like the stylin' brothel creepers in our picture, and the product will be added to your Amazon wish list with a link to the other Web site. Add notes to tell friends and family how such a pimpin' pair of shoes will transform your life, then continue shopping at either Amazon or the external site.

Make a wish

The wish list button is a bookmarklet that you simply drag to your browser toolbar. We had some issues associating the wish list with our Amazon account, which may have something to do with the site's insistence that you enter your password every five blinkin' minutes. It's also frustrating that you have to select your wish list from a drop-down menu every time, instead of it being the default choice.

There are a number of wish list sites out there, including wishlistr, Gift Hat and WishList. Amazon has the advantage that your gran probably knows about it, and it generally has just about everything you could want to find. We'd like to see the button search Amazon for the product, so your friends and family can compare prices.

Facebook like, Amazon wish, Twitter @anywhere

The idea of sites functioning within other sites is a growing trend. Twitter kicked things off at this year's SXSW conference with @anywhere, which will see other sites embed JavaScript code that lets users tweet from the page they're looking at. When the service launches, Twitter users will be able to follow people's Twitter feed from their other Web pages, or tweet and comment on links without firing up their usual Twitter app.

Facebook last week launched a like button on other Web sites. Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg calls this the Open Graph, connecting parts of the Web in new ways defined by users. Both Facebook like and Twitter @anywhere are added to a site by its publisher, whereas Amazon's bookmarklet lives in your browser and can be used on any site.

Wish away?

Critics of the Open Graph argue that there's nothing open about sites such as Amazon or Facebook sucking in data on your browsing or shopping habits. This data could be used in targeted advertising, or to make better personal recommendations. Chuck your thoughts in the comments: are sites like these taking over the Web, or is this kind of interconnectedness a bright new day, making the Web easier to use? Remember: your wish is our command.

Update: Amazon has been in touch to let us know that the bookmarklet is in fact, designed to keep you logged in until you log out, and to default to your main wish list. It looks like our issues were a problem with our browser and cookies. So that's alright then.