Facebook acquires FriendFeed

August 10, 2009

Facebook acquires FriendFeedIn a not totally unexpected move, Facebook has acquired lifestreaming service FriendFeed.

Social networking juggernaut Facebook has purchased the extremely niche lifestreaming site FriendFeed.  If you haven’t heard of FriendFeed, don’t worry, you aren’t alone according to its recent visitor statistics.

The reason this move isn’t all that unexpected is because Facebook has been … “borrowing” features from FriendFeed for quite some time now such as the ability to “like” stories that your friends post.  As it stands for now, all FriendFeed employees will be folded into the Facebook employee structure, and the four founders of the company – ex-Google employees Paul Buchheit, Bret Taylor, Jim Norris and Sanjeev Singh – will take up senior roles on Facebook’s engineering and product teams.  The FriendFeed blog states that the service will continue to operate as normal for now, but that the future has not yet been decided.  Also, the company API will continue to function for the foreseeable future, but if you built a tool around the site, I would begin worrying right about now.

Here is the press release from Facebook in its entirety:

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.

While no one is saying this is the end of FriendFeed, I wouldn’t be horribly surprised if we see the service shut down within the next twelve months.  Why keep a site open that essentially duplicates all of the features you’ve copied from them, and when you have the true assets of the company, its employees, already in your ranks?  Use them to make Facebook better, not to continue propping up a site that only a handful of hardcore social media fans use.

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