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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, 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.
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, you will be able to add items directly from the Google Shopping site.
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 and share it with your fellow shoppers.
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.
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. In this sense, Pinterest is far more versatile than Google Shortlists.
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.
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.
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.
What do you use to manage your gift shopping?