Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is launching a new service it calls “Facebook Gifts”. As the name suggests, users can send their friends real life presents like chocolate, stuffed animals, gift certificates, etc.
After choosing a gift, users add a card and can post to their friend’s timeline or send privately. The friend then “unwraps” a preview of the gift. The friend can then choose among options such as color or flavor – and even exchange it for a completely different item of equal value. The friend also provides the address to which they want the gift to be sent and the gift will arrive a few days later.
So far, news of this service has been received enthusiastically by media and many investment analysts. It is Facebook’s first real entry into entry into mobile and online commerce.
A gift icon will appear to news about a friend’s birthday or other big event that they’ve posted on Facebook – so anyone who forgets a friend’s birthday or didn’t know about a major event in their friend’s life will now be able to send a gift almost instantly.
The company launched this service yesterday to some users in the United States, and will roll it out gradually. Reportedly Facebook already has some 100 retail partners on board. So far, the service is available only on the Facebook’s website or Android mobile phones, but apps for iPhone and iPad will be available soon.
Facebook’s share price has risen in after hours trading since the announcement.