Giftag may not be a revolutionary product, but it is kind of nifty. The product was created by Best Buy (BBY), a retailer that didn't have an online registry service. Instead of creating one, though, they decided to create Giftag instead: a browser plugin that lets you make online wishlists and share them with your friends. The technology will be integrated into Best Buy's web site in the coming months.
You may be wondering why you should use a Firefox plugin to create a wish list instead of simply using Amazon's new universal wish list service. The reason is openness. Where Amazon's tool comes from what is somewhat of a closed platform, Giftag is using an open data format: hProduct.
hProduct is an emerging data standard that is suitable for embedding in (X)HTML, Atom, RSS, and arbitrary XML. The format will be related to several other microformats like hListing and hReview. Since we like to support open standards here at RWW, we like what Giftag has done.
The Giftag Homepage
How It Works
Using Giftag is simple, especially if the site you are on already supports hProduct. You just click the button in your Firefox toolbar and, at the bottom of the screen, a tray will appear where all the information about the product (name, description, price, etc.) displays. All you need to do is select which of your lists to put the item on. If the retailer's site doesn't support hProduct, you're still able to add items to the list by drawing a box around the item, but you'll have to fill in the information about the product yourself.
All the lists you create can be selectively shared with others. You could choose some lists to be shared with family and friends and others could be shared publicly. You can also share your items with your friends on Facebook via the Giftag application. Developers can access Giftag APIs to build applications of their own.
The value of the hProduct standard is clear when you use an application like Gifttag. Given Best Buy's involvement, we hope that this will push more retailers into adopting the standard on their own sites. A web of retail sites that support the same standard could open the door to even more applications that take advantage of the standard - and that's something we would like to see.