Everyone’s third most popular status update and conversation platform, FriendFeed, is being acquired by the second (or first, depending upon who you ask): Facebook. (More details can be found over on Obsessable). Facebook had already been mimicking some of FriendFeed’s features in its stream of updates, so the move makes sense. As FriendFeed never managed to really challenge Twitter, it also makes sense for them to sell to Facebook, but, for all you die hard FriendFeed fans, I seriously doubt that the site will continue on in its current form for long past the transition. Notice this carefully stated bit from the official FriendFeed post about the acquisition:
“What does this mean for my FriendFeed account?
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.
What about the FriendFeed API?
The FriendFeed API will also continue to operate normally. As above, we will let you know as we settle on our plan to more fully integrate with Facebook.” [Emphasis mine]
Notice that the FriendFeed team is already separating themselves from their product, referring to FriendFeed as FriendFeed.com and linking explicitly to it in that way.
This was really a people acquisition on Facebook’s part more than anything else. Sure, Facebook could have continued to build all the same features that FriendFeed has into Facebook, but instead of guessing about how it all works, why not grab several of the talented FriendFeed individuals, many of them former Google employees, to become core members of the Facebook team?
What will be interesting is to watch and see what Google does now, as Google had been adding several of the FriendFeed features to Google Reader and has been trying to do some sort of social network thing through its Google Friend Connect product (which I recently removed from this site due to its lack of activity). It could push Google to move ahead with wooing Twitter some more, but given the recent murmurings of anti-trust investigations and the challenge that the recent Yahoo and Bing deal poses for the search giant, I’m not expecting them to do so. Still, interesting things are afoot…
Update: Om has a really good post about why Facebook wanted FriendFeed. I think it still boils down to “for the people,” but Om’s post highlights why those people are desirable and why it’s a good fit for Facebook’s needs.