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santa clausIf you’ve ever stumbled on a cool image online and thought, “Boy, I wish I could buy that,” a Mountain View, Calif. startup called Pixazza turns that thought into reality — by filling images with links to real products. With a new holiday-themed feature, Pixazza fulfills a different wish: “Boy, I wish someone would buy that for me.”

Pixazza says it uses a combination of algorithmic technology and crowdsourcing to tag the images on partner websites with links to online stores. So if you’re looking at a photo from a stylish fashion shoot, you could click on the dress to buy it. Or if you’re looking at an image from a football game, you could click to purchase a souvenir helmet.

The company is adding a new “Ask Santa” option, so you don’t have to buy the item yourself. Instead, you select a likely gift-giver, and they get an email showing what you want and a link to where they can buy it. Adding a gift option seems like a natural extension for Pixazza. And while, that might take some of the surprise and fun out of the gift experience, why not get what you actually want this year?

The company has raised $17.8 million from August Capital, CMEA Capital, Google Ventures, and Shasta Ventures. Pixazza says that through its publisher network, it reaches more than 40 million unique visitors each month and serves 10 billion image views per year.

Ask Santa

[top image via Flickr/Rosana Prada]