Facebook Buys FriendFeed, Gets Ready For Battle With Twitter
Facebook has announced its acquisition of real-time social network site FriendFeed. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
This is unmistakably a move to become more “real-time” and more competitive with Twitter. FriendFeed never caught on with the mainstream public like Facebook has, instead being used by passionate tech fans the world over. The social network was the first to deploy true real-time updates – which didn’t require a page refresh to update information. It did so all while maintaining a very clean interface. Sites like Facebook regularly “adopted” (read: aped) these features.
As part of the deal, FriendFeed will continue to operate on its own and all FriendFeed employees will join the Facebook team. Most importantly, Facebook will be able to call on FriendFeed cofounders — ex-Google executives – Bret Taylor and Paul Buchheit. As Facebook realized the true power of real-time networks (real-time search), it tried to acquire Twitter. That deal fell through.
I expect FriendFeed to operate independently for the next six months to a year, at which point the stand-alone service will be discontinued and FriendFeed’s features be rolled into those of Facebook. To become more relevant in the land of real-time, however, Facebook will need to do much more on the side of mobility, giving users a bigger incentive to plug information into the social network on their cell phones. Currently, Twitter dominates that space, with an abundance of mobile apps for multiple mobile platforms.
Full press release:
Facebook Agrees to Acquire Sharing Service FriendFeed
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.
Posted in Acquisitions, Business, Decisions, Facebook, FriendFeed, Social Networking, Start-ups, Web 2.0