As you probably now know, the world???s biggest social networking site, Facebook, just bought the real-time web aggregator, FriendFeed, for an undisclosed sum.??
While there???s no immediate changes being made to either product today, we???re likely to see a number of changes at Facebook in the months ahead that could shape the future of real-time search and the flow of shared information on the web.
Although the deal appeared to come out of nowhere, we knew that Facebook was looking closely at the space when it was revealed that they had been in serious talks with Twitter about an acquisition. Of course, that deal never went through, but Facebook may have been gifted a better long-term mate in the FriendFeed deal. Below we???ll explore three key reasons why Facebook has been following FriendFeed since 2007, and why the buy was a smart move on their part.
1. The FriendFeed Team
We???ve learned that the whole FriendFeed team will join Facebook???s ranks, and this is likely one of the key motivating factors in Facebook???s decision. FriendFeed???s team is a who???s who of online innovation, and the founders include former Google employees who were instrumental in the creation and development of two groundbreaking products: Gmail and Google Maps.
Brett Taylor, Jim Norris, Paul Buchheit, Sanjeev Singh, Ana Yang, Kevin Fox, Tudor Bosman, and Gary Burd all have roots at Google, and they managed to do something Google can???t compete with yet: build a way to keep pace with the real-time web.
The team alignment makes perfect sense for Facebook as they???ve clearly been taking a page from FriendFeed???s product development playbook. Now instead of copying what the innovators are doing, they can work directly alongside them to become even more of a social media powerhouse, and possibly compete with Google on a search front.
2. Product Direction and Alignment
So far 2009 has been the year of no-holds barred FriendFeed emulation on Facebook???s part. First Facebook cloned FriendFeed???s comments feature, then the like feature, and eventually they decided to roll out a FriendFeed-like real-time homepage.
In fact, the Facebook we know today is very similar to the first iterations of the real-time aggregator. Even the Facebook publisher, which is constantly being improved and will eventually add public sharing, reminds us of FriendFeed???s ability to take links and post rich media content in its place.
Clearly FriendFeed is innovating, and Facebook is following. When it comes to Facebook???s product direction, the acquisition means that they can tap into FriendFeed???s technology and approach to the real-time web, as well as their incredibly powerful search product, to better the upcoming site-wide release of public status updates and their own search offering.
3. A Better Buy than Twitter?
We know that Facebook wanted to buy Twitter, but Twitter wasn???t ready to sell. What we???ve just learned, however, is that Facebook has had its eye on FriendFeed since its launch in 2007.
Even though we don???t know the financial terms of the deal, Facebook may have made the better buy. FriendFeed, even with its product innovation and fantastic team, has yet to hit the same mainstream market that Twitter has already attracted. This means that Facebook gets a platform and a team that fills a number of gaps at a fraction of the cost.
As we???ve already spelled out, FriendFeed brings a number of eye-catching features and functions to the real-time space, and Facebook???s in the perfect position to capitalize on them in a way that FriendFeed just hasn???t been able to do.
v??a Mashable! de Jennifer Van Grove el 10/08/09