Some people are awesome at picking just the right gifts for friends and loved ones. Others just suck at presents. For the latter group, Brooklyn e-tailer Etsy invented a brilliant mashup of Facebook and the twee crafts it sells.
The concept is simple but effective: You grant Etsy access to your Facebook profile; it mines your friends' profiles; and then it recommends a bunch of products based on their likes and interests. Sometimes Etsy misinterprets certain data, as shown below, or can't find enough information on a given Facebook friend. But it almost always shows you at least one really cool present, and invariably will help spark other gift ideas in your holiday-weary brain. And because the gifts all come from Etsy and its army of neo artisans, rather than from a factory in China, you're going to earn extra thoughtfulness points.
It's like surveying friends for ideas and canvassing little antique and gift shops in the click of a mouse. And, miraculously, Etsy is smart enough not to betray your shopping trip to friends, or to try and get you to spam them.
Here are some good results we got in a quick test (click any to enlarge):
... and some misinterpreted data; on Facebook, "Equinox" referred to the health club and "French Laundry" to the restaurant, but Etsy couldn't figure that out. We just skipped over these recommendations: