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Facebook introduces Gifts down under, sort of

Six months after its US release, Facebook has brought Gifts to Australia — but recipients have to be in the US.

Six months after its US release, Facebook has brought Gifts to Australia — but recipients have to be in the US.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

Late last year, Facebook unveiled Facebook Gifts — a new feature on the social-networking website that allows users to purchase gifts for each other from partnered vendors from within Facebook. Gifts include stuffed toys, mugs, sweet treats, gift cards and even wine.

Because everyone's — or mostly everyone's — birthday is in Facebook's calendar, it seems like an efficient way to gift someone a little token on an important date.

The service has newly arrived in Australia after its very first introduction in September last year. However, users can only send gifts to recipients who have a US address; according to the Gifts page you can, "Give real gifts to your friends and family in the United States, even from another country."

Giving a US friend a Facebook gift is pretty simple; all you have to do is select the "gift" icon on their Timeline (for non-US Facebook users, the icon simply isn't there), and follow the prompts, choosing from a list of categories that includes digital gifts, gifts under US$25 and charities.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg considers Facebook Gifts an opportunity to leverage the Facebook birthday calendar, along with potential user willingness to spend as they do on Facebook games and the ease of purchasing without leaving the Facebook page. However, unless Facebook can sign on some local partnerships, its traction in Australia will be greatly limited.

CNET Australia contacted Facebook for comment on its local plans, and received the following reply: "We recently launched an update to Gifts that enables people using Facebook in English outside of the US to send Gifts to friends living in the US."