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You’ve no doubt been in this position before: a group of people are trying to decide what gift to buy the extended family for the holiday season.

My family is in the same boat. While trying to collaborate on Christmas gift ideas, I thought, “We both have computers and smartphones, so how can we make this easier?”

This got me thinking about the best way to share a visual list of potential gifts between a couple of people (or more) privately. Here are two great solutions I’m sure you’ll enjoy too.

Google Shopping Shortlist

Google Shopping is yet another great Google product not enough people know about. And while Google Shopping is fantastic as a tool for browsing gift ideas and other shopping, it is also great for making private or shared shopping lists.

To create a Google Shopping Shortlist Google Shopping Gets Overhauled With 360-Degree Pics, Previews, Shortlists Google Shopping Gets Overhauled With 360-Degree Pics, Previews, Shortlists Google Shopping got a big update in time for the holidays, introducing 360-degree photos, previews, ‘visually similar’ search, and shortlists to help you keep a track of products and make it a social experience. Read More , head over to Google Shopping and follow the link to Shortlists. You can create as many Shortlists as you like and share them with whoever you like, using the familiar Google sharing steps.

Google-Shopping-Shortlist

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Once your Shortlist is created, you can use the Shortlist Bookmarklet to add ideas from any page online, adding the vital details as you save. It will show up in the Shortlist with an image, a link, a price and a comment. More comments can be added by any party.

You can also add comments to the list, such as links to stores you need to check out, a list of the people you are shopping for (and their ages), vague ideas of what you’re looking for for any given person, or whatever else you like.

Any comments or items added to the list will trigger a notification email to be sent to the other collaborators, plus an icon on the list will tell you what’s new whenever you visit it.

And obviously, if you choose to do your browsing using Google Shopping The Three-Way Battle For Online Shopping Supremacy! Google Vs Yahoo Vs Bing The Three-Way Battle For Online Shopping Supremacy! Google Vs Yahoo Vs Bing I pitted Google, Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing shopping search engines against one another to determine which of the three provided the best savings on five frequently purchased tech items - an Asus Nexus tablet, a... Read More , you will be able to add items directly from the Google Shopping site.

Google-Shopping

The Google Shopping Shortlist option is great for families who use Google accounts and who want a quick visual list with prices and notes throughout.

Pinterest Shared Secret Board

If your collaborators are all on Pinterest, another idea is to create a secret board on Pinterest At Last, Get Some Privacy On Pinterest With Secret Boards [Updates] At Last, Get Some Privacy On Pinterest With Secret Boards [Updates] Nothing used to be private on Pinterest. Every single pin had a global audience. If you were among the ones hankering for some secluded corner on Pinterest, here’s some cheer just before the holidays. Pinterest... Read More and share it with your fellow shoppers.

Pinterest is quite renowned for being a great way to share visual ideas, so it’s ideal for gift lists 4 Unique and Innovative Uses for Pinterest 4 Unique and Innovative Uses for Pinterest Social networking site Pinterest can be pretty addictive, with good reason, but it can also be an incredibly useful site. While we know it's easy to waste many an hour on Pinterest, being less than... Read More . Check out our guide to Pinterest if you’re new to it.

Pinterest-Profile

To start a secret board, head over to your profile, then scroll down until you see the “secret boards” section. Add a new secret board and save, then edit the board and invite your collaborators.

Pinterest-Create-Secret-Board

To add items to the board, you can browse Pinterest, use the Bookmarklet, use a browser extension, or use one of the many apps for smartphones and tablets Make Better Use of Pinterest With These 5 Pinterest Tools Make Better Use of Pinterest With These 5 Pinterest Tools Whether you’ve already fallen for Pinterest or not, no one can deny the new network’s popularity. Instead of sharing your thoughts or actions, you get to share beautiful images. Not only that, those images don’t... Read More . In this sense, Pinterest is far more versatile than Google Shortlists.

Pinterest-Get-Pin-It-Button

Again, notes, price and more can be added to the comments, with the pin link going back to the page where you originally found it. Sadly, there’s no way to comment on the board as a whole. You can comment on the pins, and use a decent description, but Pinterest isn’t the best way to share text. Also, you can’t get notifications when your collaborators add items to the board, other than mixed in with notifications for all your other boards and pins.

Pinterest-Pin

Which One Should You Choose?

Obviously, your main decision-making point between Google Shortlists and Pinterest secret boards will be which tools your collaborators already use: Google or Pinterest. Also important is whether they will use a smartphone or tablet more often than a computer, as Pinterest is a lot easier to use on a mobile device than Google Shortlists.

Pinterest-Apps

If these points don’t help you decide, consider whether you will want to add notes to the list for who you’re buying for, what their ages are, shops to check out, etc. If so, Google Shortlists is the better option.

If your whole family is willing to join up, sites like Giftster can make your family gifting process really easy Giftster Cuts Out The Stress Of Gift Planning For Your Family & Friends Giftster Cuts Out The Stress Of Gift Planning For Your Family & Friends Giftster makes family gift-giving a breeze, with personal wishlists and a way to reserve gifts you're buying. The kids get what they want - and no more hassles with doubled-up presents! Read More , too.

What do you use to manage your gift shopping?

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