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Is Facebook becoming a mobile mall?

Facebook may soon be the place you do your shopping.

It has begun rolling out a way for you to shop directly on the site, turning the businesses' Facebook pages into mini online stores. It is offering to do everything from helping with the checkout to processing your payment.

"If you have a store or a brand, you can set up your own brand on Facebook and they want to make that into a store," CNET senior editor Dan Ackerman told CBS News. "They are starting with a couple of trial runs to see if you can do the process through Facebook - shop for stuff, put in your card, checkout. They would handle the whole backend."

This would be different from the buy buttons Facebook already has in paid ads. It could be a boon to small businesses that don't have their own e-commerce sites.

Google is also trying out a new way to let users shop directly from mobile search results without having to navigate over a store's website. Purchases on Google, which keeps your payment and shipping information at the ready when you buy from any number of stores (starting with a handful merchants), will begin rolling out in the coming weeks.

The move to keep shopping within the Facebook ecosystem looks like yet another brick in what Ackerman called the company's "walled garden" approach to making the social network your destination for everything you want to do on the web.

"You see your news. You do your shopping. You do your communicating," he said. "It's an interesting concept to try and bring people off the Internet and back into this sort of walled garden community."

  • Michael Casey

    Michael Casey covers the environment, science and technology for CBSNews.com