Facebook, fresh off of its IPO, went shopping again and this time bought a gift giving start-up, called Karma. The aim behind Karma is to make gift giving a little more convenient. The service has a 'storefront' on their app through which you select the gift that you would like to give to a friend. Karma has tied up with vendors, like Spotify, Gund and MOMA for its selection of gifts, so the variety is large enough. Once you've selected the gift you want, Karma notifies the recipient by SMS, e-mail or even a Facebook wall post that you want to send them a present. They then can provide an address to have the gift sent to them. They can also trade their gift for another gift in the store that they would prefer, or to donate the money that you spend on the gift to charity. According to Mashable, the largest percentage of gift giving happens via SMS.
Facebook buys Karma
Karma already has a little Facebook integration where the service posts to a recipient's Facebook wall. However, Facebook buying the service might mean that the social network intends to get into gift giving as well. Karma announced the acquisition in a blog post saying, “We’re thrilled to announce that Karma has been acquired by Facebook. The service that Karma provides will continue to operate in full force. By combining the incredible passion of our community with Facebook’s platform we can delight users in new and meaningful ways.” The service is confident that good things will follow.
Other acquisitions that Facebook has done recently include, Instagram and an Android photo sharer, Lightbox. With the acquisition of those two services, Facebook aimed at improving their mobile apps as well as improving the photo sharing experience. The service has already updated their apps to include bigger pictures in the News Feed and has included photo filters in the upload section of their Facebook for Every Phone app. While the Karma acquisition might not be related to photos, it might actually be related to adding more features to Facebook's mobile presence. Karma, itself works through apps for iOS and Android, and doesn't really have a web interface for gift giving. So, if Facebook starts allowing you to give gifts, you'll know why.