The One Big Thing: Facebook Buys FriendFeed

The One Big Thing you need to know about this week, obviously, is Facebook’s acquisition of FriendFeed.

After having a few days to consider the acquisition, here are some thoughts on why I think it’s important:

Real-Time Search

FriendFeed excels at real-time search and, since real-time is where the Web is headed, it was prudent of Facebook to acquire the technology and talent that will allow them to compete.


The FriendFeed team have been steadily rolling out innovations, many of which Facebook adopted. Robert Scoble and Steve Rubel have argued that FriendFeed should be Facebook’s development lab. Let them come up with stuff and incorporate the best of the features into Facebook.

Real-Time Conversations

Take a look at the conversations at FriendFeed (any Scoble thread will do) and it becomes immediately obvious how much more rich the conversations can be there than on Facebook.

User Generated Content

One of the best features of FriendFeed is that you can pipe in content from a multitude of social media accounts through RSS. I’ve got my Flickr account, my YouTube account, Delicious, my blogs…any account I control that has an RSS feed is going into my FriendFeed account. It is the place to go to essentially see all the content I produce in one place. But the more content a social media venue has, the more appealing and valuable it becomes.

User Marketing

I’m just going to paste the relevant text from the ReadWriteWeb article, because they say it perfectly:

When I post something to FriendFeed, all of my friends see it. If one of them comments on it or “likes” it, then two things happen that don’t happen on Facebook. First, our conversation suddenly appears in the news feed of all the friends of the person who commented on my item – whether they know me or not. That doesn’t happen on Facebook. I can see the names of people who comment on my friends’ items – but if my friends comment on items shared by their friends I don’t know – there’s no notification of that in my news feed.”

Facebook Users: Here’s What FriendFeed Brings to the Family

Twitter & Google

The acquisition poses a bigger threat to both Twitter and Google; for Twitter because FriendFeed’s conversations are much more natural; for Google because of FriendFeed’s remarkably good real-time search technology.

FriendFeed As A Utility

Finally, I do hope that FriendFeed does become Facebook’s laboratory because I find it super useful as a utility. I use it to easily track categories of content. So, for instance, in order to better keep track of what my fellow Minnesota strategic communicators are talking about, I created a FriendFeed room and pumped in all the RSS feeds from the Minnesota communication professionals’ blogs. Now, I can track the Minnesota communications pros blogosphere and search it and share it.

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