Amazon Giver also provides Facebook members with the option of viewing suggested items for friends based on interests listed on their profile pages. A second Facebook application launched Thursday, Amazon Grapevine, provides a news feed of friends' activity on Amazon, such as when they update their wish lists, write reviews, or tag products. Both applications only share information between Facebook members who have opted in to the service.
"By combining Amazon's vast selection of products with Facebook's millions of users, we are able to make activities like gift-giving more efficient and rewarding for Facebook users," Eva Manolis, VP of Amazon, said in a statement.
By adding the Amazon Giver application to their profile, Facebook members get the option of clicking directly to a secure Amazon checkout page. If the recipient has a wish list, then Amazon can ship the item without the buyer entering a shipping address, which would already be on file. In order for people to view a wish list, it would have to be set as "public."
With Amazon Grapevine, people have the option to choose what type of activity they would be willing to share with friends through the news feed. Activity updates are entirely opt-in.
Facebook officially opened its platform for outside development in February 2007. Since then, the company has expanded the tools provided to third-party developers, in order to give them greater access to the social network.
The transition from social network to social platform is to open up user data to advertisers, or in Amazon's case, retailers. Facebook's larger rival MySpace opened its network to outside developers last month by releasing the tools they need to build commercial applications that run on the site.
At the end of 2007, MySpace accounted for more than three-quarters of the Web traffic to social networks in the United States, according to Web metrics firm Hitwise. Facebook was a distant second with 12.6%.
MySpace visitors on average, however, spent about 30 seconds less time on the site than a year ago. Facebook visitors, on the other hand, spent about 10 minutes longer on average, according to Hitwise.