Today Facebook acquired Friendfeed for approximately $50 million in cash and stock, according to the WSJ.
I use Friendfeed for work, but not personally. We have 190 subscribers. It seemed like a nice way to aggregate all our different social media feeds, and I put the widget on our blog. I also wanted to reach out to any customers that were heavy Friendfeed users. I never interacted much directly with the service, and eventually replaced their widget with one from our Facebook fan page, as well as a branded widget from Widgetbox (note: branded widgets are much more tempting to a company than a Friendfeed branded widgets. That’s good for their brand, not for mine).
Friendfeed was built by a smart team of ex-Googlers, creators of GMail, AdSense, and Maps among others. If Facebook’s long term strategy is to become more adept at real-time search, know how from Google is very valuable. This part of the WSJ article hints on the importance of search –
Monday, Facebook also launched a significant new feature that allows users to search the stream of items their friends share or other users make public for terms like celebrities or news events. Previously, most of the search functionality on the site was focused on finding particular people.
This is also clearly about Twitter. I view Twitter as the Internet television. Content creators use it for broadcasting. Twitter users are amateur content creators that want to reach potentially interested consumers. Twitter is not so much many-to-many, but some-to-many.
Friendfeed has taken similar shape. It’s a place for experts in the information economy, primarily Internet though leaders, to syndicate their content – an elite community.
Now, this community does create some valuable content. These are the creators whose content you need to index and make searchable. They also break news and opinions on your platform.
Ultimately Facebook acquired 1) a talented group of engineers and 2) an elite group of users.