Amazon has announced Friends & Family Gifting just in time for the holidays, a feature that tracks gift giving occasions like birthdays and holidays. The app also integrates with Facebook for gift recommendations.
Friends & Family Gifting is built on top of the popular Amazon Wish Lists feature, which enables users to build a wish list of Amazon products that anyone could purchase for them. The app uses Facebook and your Amazon account to track friend’s birthdays (or add one if the birthday is unlisted), and elect to send these friends a gift. Of course the impetus to launch such a feature on Amazon’s part is to try and get you to use its platform for buying and sending gifts rather than Facebooks recently launched Gifts feature.
“Friends & Family Gifting on Amazon makes gift-giving fun and easy,” Amazon Sr. Manager of Wish List and Gifting Andy Rosenbaum said in a statement. “You will never forget a birthday and will have great gift ideas ready for this holiday season and special occasions year-round.”
Amazon’s Friends & Family Gifting is far more robust than Facebook Gifts, and uses your Facebook information in a superior way. For instance, Amazon recommends the types of gifts that recipients may prefer based on their Facebook likes of music titles, movies, and books. It takes some of the guessing out trying to figure out what type of gift they’d appreciate. With Facebook, you’re generally rotating through a list of the same options for sending gifts. There is little personalization and variety.
Of course Amazon’s tools for finding the perfect gift aren’t fool proof. Recommendations are meaningless if you happen to purchase your friend a book that they don’t like or already have.
While users of this feature can corroborate their list with mutual friends or your friend’s family by sharing the list of products you’ve selected for your friend on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and email, we still prefer the way Facebook executes gift giving. Through Facebook Gifts, once you’ve selected a gift the recipient can enter in their home address, and even exchange the gift for one of equal or lower value. Amazon’s Friends & Family Gifting doesn’t address both of these problems. Then again you could argue that the best part about receiving a gift is the surprise – and certainly, Amazon’s database of options is a huge benefit to its product.