eBay's Christmas Gift Engine crawls Facebook for suggestions

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CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

eBay has launched a web app that helps you find gifts for your friends — by crawling through their Facebook liked pages and making suggestions accordingly.

Well, that's... eclectic.
(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

We've just been having a lovely time Christmas shopping for all our friends. This is thanks to a new app called the eBay Gift Engine, designed to "take the stress out of finding the perfect Xmas present".

eBay has called it the first app of its kind, and it taps into Facebook to help collate a personalised gift list for each of your friends. It does this by crawling which pages your friends have liked publicly, no private information is accessed, and then searching the over 40 million items available on eBay for matches.

You need to log in to the app using Facebook and then select a friend. The engine will take a few moments to find their likes, but then you'll have the option to remove ones that are irrelevant or add categories or items you know they like. Then you click "Skip straight to the gifts" for gift ideas.

It is, however, a little hit and miss. Many of our friends are data savvy and keep their profiles completely locked down, which means that the engine couldn't find anything to recommend. And, of course, there was the recommendation of Disney merchandise for a cartoon-hating horror fan or a baby blanket for someone with no kids. But then again, that was our favourite part of the experience.

If you can't find anything appropriate, eBay has launched another option: a dedicated Christmas website, where you can enter keywords for a more tailored, direct experience.

Have a go of the eBay Gift Engine yourself here.

Author's note: I'd like to apologise to my Facebook friends for making them my guinea pigs. But not really because it was hilarious.

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PhilipC2 posted a comment   

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