Facebook spotlights Gifts on mobile with alerts

Select users of Facebook's Android app can now buy gifts from Facebook directly from birthday alerts displayed on their mobile devices.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam

Users of the social network's Android app may notice birthday or celebration alerts popping up on top of their newsfeeds with a link to buy gifts.

This mobile promotion of Facebook Gifts, first noticed by TechCrunch, lets users click through a link to Facebook's gifting service. It's available through Android, and will be arriving on iOS in the coming weeks, according to a Facebook representative. For now, iOS users will also be able to see the notifications up top, but they won't be able to click through to purchase gifts.

As with the Facebook Gifts rollout on the Web, the alerts are available only to those who are included in the original test group, so not everyone is going to be able to use it. There's still no word from Facebook on when the rest of the network will get to try out the gifts service.

The alerts, like Facebook's ads, will mingle with users' other newsfeed posts.

It's another way for Facebook to raise more mobile dollars -- something it needs to do to keep investors happy. Facebook, like other online companies, is recognizing the rapid growth of mobile as users shift away from desktops.

Out of Facebook's roughly 1 billion monthly users, 600 million used Facebook mobile products in the month of September, according to the social network.

Clarification, 11:21 p.m. PT: The article was changed to reflect that Facebook Gifts was previously accessible on mobile devices.