Tech. News: Instagram, other sites go down, Facebook Redesigns Gifts

Amazon’s unit that runs Web servers for other companies had problems Sunday that coincided with outages or slowdowns on several popular websites.

amazon_small Tech. News: Instagram, other sites go down, Facebook Redesigns Gifts

AirBnB says its site was one of those affected. Other services that were slow or unavailable included Instagram and Twitter’s Vine video-sharing application.

Online home rental service AirBnB tweeted at 4:32 p.m. ET that it was one of several websites and apps that were temporarily down because Amazon server problems.

Instagram sent a tweet saying it was aware some users were having trouble loading Instagram and that was working on the problem. Vine later sent a similar tweet.

Amazon Web Services provides companies with online storage and computing power. Its website showed several problems resolved on Sunday evening, with a few remaining.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook redesigns Gifts and removes physical gifts in the process

Almost a year ago, Facebook launched Gifts as we know it for the first time — a new feature on the social network that allowed friends to send real, physical gifts to other friends through the website or mobile app to be delivered to the recipient. The selection of gifts ranged from gift cards to candy baskets to household decorations to phone accessories. Starting yesterday, however, that era of Gifts is over as Facebook begins rolling out its new version dominated entirely by gift cards.

After finding out that that physical gifts represented only 20 percent of sales, Facebook decided to axe them with the version of Gifts that’s rolling out as you read this. Gone are the page overlays that would appear when you’d click to give a gift to someone. In place is a landing page for all gifts, plus businesses can get their own individual pages of gifts which means it’ll be easier for them to share and promote their own products available on Facebook.

Suitably for Facebook, it will now provide gift recommendations to you based on your friends’ habits on the website like check-ins, etc. It will intelligently figure out your friends’ favorite brands and shops and give you a gentle nudge in those directions. Some businesses will offer gift card codes redeemable immediately online, while others will send out a Facebook gift card in the mail branded specifically and available only for use at that business.

Overall it looks like a step up. Some people will miss the ability to send friends physical gifts; I personally have sent cookies and guitar picks out from Facebook Gifts. Gift cards are almost always appreciated though, as are the recommendations Facebook gives to the people sending them.