No more animated cattle for your friends! Social networking site Facebook has launched a new service ‘Gifts’ that would allow users to send real-life presents to one another, marking its first real foray into e-commerce.
‘Gifts’ was launched yesterday to a subset of users in the US, and will roll out to more over the coming months, as people begin to send gifts to each other.
Possible gifts till now include Gourmet ice cream, Andy Warhol prints, flowers, organic dog toys and spa packages.
Gifts appear as wrapped surprises on a friend’s Timeline or inbox until they’re opened.
The recipient can then select the right size, colour, or flavour and enter a shipping address.
Gift notifications come with virtual cards, but the gift packaging itself is Facebook-branded, with special paper, wrapping, stickers, and a hard-copy notecard.
The iPhone and iPad versions of the app are coming soon as well.
The icon will also show up on the right side of users’ Facebook pages with the notifications for friends’ birthdays, weddings and other life events.
For instance, if your friend’s birthday is coming up in two days, you’ll now see a “give her a gift” link and the gift icon next to her name and photo.
Clicking the icon will display presents you can buy, such as a Starbucks gift card, cupcakes or a teddy bear.
The recipient will be notified through Facebook to enter a shipping address for the presents. In some cases, they will be able to select their own cupcake flavours or size and style of socks.
They can also exchange for other items if they don’t like the gifts. The company will take an unspecified cut from each item sold.
The app is the result of Facebook’s acquisition of Karma, a 16-person startup based in San Francisco.
Lee Linden’s 16-person gift-giving startup, Karma, was acquired by Facebook four months ago.
Karma’s mobile app lets people send gifts to their friends on the go. Facebook Gifts works both on computers and mobile devices.