Every year around this time, holiday shoppers fret and fuss over what to get their friends and family, scouring websites and store shelves in a frantic search for the most fitting favors of the season.
But this year, a few new Web tools offer to be a Santa’s helper, whispering gift ideas in your ear.
Using profile information pulled from Facebook, these websites try to match your friends’ preferences and interests with products you can buy online.
“Every e-commerce site has this problem of gifting, and it’s a significant chunk of e-commerce,” said Chris Dixon, CEO of Hunch.com, a recommendation engine that recently launched a social gift finder tool with Gifts.com.
But now that social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, have helped turn the Internet from just a “Web of cookies and computers” into a Web of people, he said, companies like his can add a layer of tools that analyze people and their preferences to personalize the Internet – and their purchases.
Hunch.com, for example, asks users a series of questions to develop a “taste profile” for them, which it then uses to help make recommendations about anything from books and movies to restaurants and gadgets.