Facebook Acquires Social Veterans in FriendFeed Deal

Update: CNNFinancial Times, NYT, and BusinessWeek captured my thoughts in their articles.

Facebook makes a play and acquires Friendfeed, a sharing and aggregation tool that helps people find out what their friends are doing. Read Friendfeed’s announcement, and Facebook’s blog post.

A few months ago the Facebook and Twitter deal fell apart, and Facebook knows it must open its community to the open web –not just behind a login in order to benefit from generating revenues through advertising and search advertising.

This Friendfeed acquisition make sense as it’s primarily a buy of the talent and team –not so much the website itself. Why? This team of ex-googlers have roots in gmail and google maps, they know how to build scalable social apps, and are also located in Silicon Valley (I’ve visited them a handful of times).

Friendfeed.com doesn’t have a tremendous amount of visitors (monthly uniques are under 1mm says Compete, compared to Facebook’s 250mm registered users) so the acquisition is for the cherry features like Search, Best of Day, and elegant and rapid procuring of social content in real time.

Expect information in Facebook to continue to become more public, and this acquisition will help fuel this. Previously, Facebook allowed profiles to be made public, and spurred a landgrab from vanity URLs.

Although the teams haven’t made any indicators of their long-term plans, I’d expect the Friendfeed features and technologies to be folded into the larger Facebook. The terms of the deal must have been great for Friendfeeders, who have often indicated they wanted to go it alone.

Takeaways:

  • Facebook’s acquisition is truly about getting a seasoned team on board that’s done it before.
  • Facebook was smart to purchase this young player who has yet to reach critical mass.
  • Expect Friendfeed features to be folded into Facebook.
  • Expect Facebook to continue to show more public content.

I’ll keep it brief, love to dialog more in the comments. I also cross-posted this on Forrester’s interactive marketing blog.

Update: It’s an interesting job to watch the rapidly evolving web industry, and during my many meetings with companies, I learn which companies are fearful of others, my most retweeted Tweet is the following:

“IBM is afraid of Microsoft who is afraid of Google who is afraid of Facebook who is afraid of Twitter who is afraid of whales.”

Cute, sure.  But in all seriousness, this acquistion is a way for Facebook to circumvent and harnass Tweets, as Friendfeed aggregates tweets in real time.