Amazon.com has launched a Connect to Facebook feature that will allow users to receive product recommendations based on data from their Facebook profile as well gift suggestions for friends on Facebook based on their data. The feature, which is currently in beta testing, will also allow users to find friends' Amazon Wish Lists more easily. The new option reads, "Connect to Facebook to get Amazon recommendations for you and discover Friends' Favorites and Likes."
Connecting with Facebook allows the user to see a list of friends with upcoming birthdays along with gift suggestions, a list of what's popular among Facebook friends, and recommendations for books, music, and video based on favorites mentioned in the user's profile.
Facebook has faced numerous past controversies over online privacy , and Amazon was quick to say that the data sharing is a one-way street. Amazon will not share user's Amazon account information or purchase history with the social networking site. Nor will it be contacting users' Facebook friends or posting on users' walls.
This isn't Amazon's first exploration of using social networks for "social commerce." Lately it's been using Twitter and its Facebook page to promote special deals and last month acquired Woot.com, a commerce site that relies heavily on social networking to advertise its specials. Amazon Web Services has partnered with Facebook to help developers build applications on the AWS platform as well.
A report recently issued by research group Gartner found that a majority of consumers use social networks in some way to assist with purchase decisions.