In a sudden but pretty unsurprising move, Facebook has acquired FriendFeed.
A Good Fit
Facebook has been stealing adopting FriendFeed’s features for a good while now. ‘Likes’ and ‘Comments’ were introduced by Facebook after being pioneered by FriendFeed. Facebook has been slowly moving towards a becoming realtime sharing service, following FriendFeed’s lead.
In a move that may have pointed nicely to today’s anouncement, Robert Scoble talked to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg two weeks ago about FriendFeed. Scoble wrote (on FriendFeed, of course) “He (Zuckerberg) says he likes the search engine here. (He) Explained that Facebook’s scale is slowing them down. (He) Says that 90 million users make things go slow”.
FriendFeed is lightyears ahead of Facebook technically so it’s likely that much of the realtime technology used on FriendFeed will surely move to Facebook and give it the ‘shot in the arm’ it needs to keep improving.
How will the combination Work?
On the FriendFeed blog, founder Bret Taylor says:
Now we have the opportunity to bring many of the innovations we’ve developed at FriendFeed to Facebook’s 250 million users around the world and to work alongside Facebook’s passionate engineers to create even more ways for you to easily share with your friends online.
FriendFeed.com will continue to operate normally for the time being. We’re still figuring out our longer-term plans for the product with the Facebook team. As usual, we will communicate openly about our plans as they develop — keep an eye on the FriendFeed News group for updates.
Facebook’s statement notes that:
“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.”
So, it looks like business as usual for now but the long-term future of FriendFeed is today looking uncertain. Will Facebook want to keep the service going? It’s mainly been popular with geeks so far, whereas Facebook has much more mainstream appeal.
As a group of FriendFeed fans here at The Next Web, it’s fair to say the prospect of a future in which FriendFeed is reduced to a technological backend for Facebook is a worrying one. FriendFeed works wonderfully as a streamlined content sharing and discussion platform without the need for Pokes, throwing sheep and all the other things that go with the Facebook experience. It’s worth noting that the phrase “For the time being” is used in relation to the continuation of FriendFeed by both FriendFeed and Facebook in their statements about the acquisition.