Amazon's Latest Product Launch is a Couple of Facebook Apps

amazon_facebook.pngAmazon has now officially joined the Facebook craze. It has launched two of its own Facebook applications: Amazon Giver and Amazon Grapevine.

Amazon Giver shows your Amazon wishlist on your Facebook page. Of course, there are more than a dozen apps on Facebook that already let you do that, but only Amazon Giver lets your friends actually buy those gifts for you without leaving Facebook. Ah, distributed commerce. Your friends can also click on a recommendations tab that creates Amazon product recommendations based on interests reflected in your Facebook profile. So if you are “fan” of The Killers, it might recommend one of the band’s CDs. If you are a “fan” of a soccer page, it might recommend a soccer ball. It also provides recommendations for your friends, conveniently listed by closest birthday.

Amazon Grapevine creates an activity stream based on your actions on Amazon. Every time you update your wishlist, write a review, or rate a product on Amazon, it shows up in your friends’ Facebook news feed. Although this sounds almost exactly like Facebook’s Beacon program, Amazon is not part of Beacon (which went through a lot of privacy issues). Amazon Grapevine is completely opt-in. None of your activities are shown automatically just because you are a Facebook member. And none of your purchases are shown. In a way, it is too bad that is not an option. What a person buys says a lot about who they are.