In a sign that Facebook’s not happy with Twitter being the “pulse of the planet”, it acquired rival social network FriendFeed today. Yes, Facebook gets all of the FriendFeed ex-Google employees. Bully for them. But what does it mean for a person like me who’s on both sites? For the answer, I checked Friend Feed’s blog.
Well, to the unaided eye nothing. But then everything. Here’s my hypothesis: look for Facebook to morph into FriendFeed such that all of the content from your social networks will easily find their way into your Facebook profile. On Flickr and uploaded a new photo? You’ll see it on Facebook. And you can already see your tweets on Facebook, but if you’re on about 14 main sites like I am (and 34 in all) you can’t see all of them on Facebook; look for that to change too. That’s just my prediction, but one thing’s clear: Facebook just bought itself “Citizen Kane-style”, the best engineers around. This is the press release that one can see at Friend Feed:
PALO ALTO, CALIF.—August 10, 2009—Facebook today announced that it has agreed to acquire FriendFeed, the innovative service for sharing online. As part of the agreement, all FriendFeed employees will join Facebook and FriendFeed’s four founders will hold senior roles on Facebook’s engineering and product teams.
“Facebook and FriendFeed share a common vision of giving people tools to share and connect with their friends,” said Bret Taylor, a FriendFeed co-founder and, previously, the group product manager who launched Google Maps. “We can’t wait to join the team and bring many of the innovations we’ve developed at FriendFeed to Facebook’s 250 million users around the world.”
“As we spent time with Mark and his leadership team, we were impressed by the open, creative culture they’ve built and their desire to have us contribute to it,” said Paul Buchheit, another FriendFeed co-founder. Buchheit, the Google engineer behind Gmail and the originator of Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto, added, “It was immediately obvious to us how passionate Facebook’s engineers are about creating simple, ground-breaking ways for people to share, and we are extremely excited to join such a like-minded group.”
Taylor and Buchheit founded FriendFeed along with Jim Norris and Sanjeev Singh in October 2007 after all four played key roles at Google for products like Gmail and Google Maps. At FriendFeed, they’ve brought together a world-class team of engineers and designers.
“Since I first tried FriendFeed, I’ve admired their team for creating such a simple and elegant service for people to share information,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. “As this shows, our culture continues to make Facebook a place where the best engineers come to build things quickly that lots of people will use.”
FriendFeed is based in Mountain View, Calif. and has 12 employees. FriendFeed.com will continue to operate normally for the time being as the teams determine the longer term plans for the product.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not released.
Mark Zuckerberg is Charles Foster Kane
In the classic movie and one of my favorites “Citizen Kane” when Kane (played by the late Orson Wells) acquired a little known paper called “The Enquirer” it was far behind the rival Chronicle in circulation and the Chronicle had the best writers around. Six years later, Kane built the Enquirer’s circulation and bought the Chronicle’s writers and moved them to the Enquirer. That’s essentially what Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook has done; bring it the best talent. It’s certainly an epic move because it’s one that will boost Facebook’s already lofty online presence.
Who’s Facebook aiming after?
The popular view, advanced by TechCrunch because it’s take and readership, is that Facebook got FriendFeed to go after Twitter, but legendary tech blogger Robert Scoble has a different view: he thinks its Google that’s their target and has some great points, foremost is that Google does not have “real time search” and FriendFeed does.
What’s real time search? It’s an on-the-spot updating of your content. Check Robert’s blog for an example of this now (just look on the right at the scrolling widget). It’s a great way for searching for “who’s chatting about what, now” unlike what was written years ago, which is what Google does today. Now, Facebook has an advantage over Google here in an area that Google considered a priority. Robert likes the move and so do I.