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Facebook unwraps a gift service with hopes of sparking revenue

September 27, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • Facebook announced a new service called Facebook Gifts.
Facebook announced a new service called Facebook Gifts. (Facebook )

As awesome as birthday comments are, nothing beats a gift. And Facebook has taken note.

The social networking giant announced a new service Thursday afternoon called Facebook Gifts that will let users buy and send each other presents they can enjoy in real life.

To start, these presents include Starbucks gift cards, stuffed animals and cupcakes, but Facebook said it will continue to add more options every day.

Picture Gallery: Fresh Facebook Features

The company said users will have the option to send gifts from birthday reminders or when they visit their friend's timelines.

They'll be able to choose gifts for their friends, attach cards and send them off. They can notify their friends by posting the gift on their timeline or more privately through a message.

At that point, their friend can "unwrap" a preview of the gift. If they don't like the gift, they can choose a different color, size, flavor or exchange it for something of equal value.

Payments can be made as soon as users send the gift or they can choose to pay later. Their friends, meanwhile, can provide their address once they choose to accept the gift and it "will show up on their doorstep a few days late," according to a news release by the company.

Facebook said the new service will roll out gradually to U.S. users beginning Thursday.

The new Facebook Gifts service stems from its purchase of Karma, a social gifting mobile app. Facebook acquired the company on the day of its IPO back in May.

“We've been really impressed with the Karma team and all they accomplished in such a short time," a Facebook spokesperson told The Times in an email at the time of the purchase. "This acquisition combines Karma’s passion and innovative mobile app with Facebook’s platform to help people connect and share in new and meaningful ways."

With Facebook continuing to struggle to impress Wall Street investors, another revenue stream can't hurt.

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