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Facebook + FriendFeed = FaceFeed?

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Facebook announced today that it had acquired FriendFeed.  Multiple sources carried the news after Technorati broke it, minutes before Facebook made its own announcement.  Largely believed to be an acquisition for talent, the 12 members of the Friendfeed team include founder Bret Taylor the creator of Google Maps and Paul Buchheit, who developed Gmail.  Facebook indicated that the four Friendfeed founders would all serve as senior executives in their product and engineering departments.

Articles have already been written about what FriendFeed brings to Facebook, including public profiles, conversations that involve people you don’t know, aggregated content from multiple sites and real time information.  Whether some of these features will continue to be supported if Friendfeed is fully incorporated into Facebook or not remains to be seen. Without question the biggest impact of this acquisition might be on Twitter.  Past analysis has shown that a majority of the content that Friendfeed aggregates is from Twitter.  Given Twitter’s very recent and very public snubbing of an acquisition offer from Facebook, is this simply the first volley in a capabilities war where Facebook will use its superior financial funding position to acquire companies that have advanced Twitter-like features so that they can eventually eliminate Twitter’s dominate position in microblogging?

But it’s not as though Facebook should be worried.  With over 250 million users against Twitter’s 4-5 million, adding Friendfeed, a site that reached over 1 million visits earlier this year, will not make an appreciable difference in the lead it already enjoys.  In Facebook’s and Friendfeed’s press releases, in addition to talent,  shared platform and work culture philosophies were cited as reasons for the acquisition.  But what might be good for these two companies might not be good for Friendfeed users.

Most of the feedback was negative when the deal was announced.  Indeed Friendfeed oftentimes seemed to be a haven for social media practitioners.  Prominent members of that community, including Robert Scoble, are avid users and as one commenter stated on Bret Taylor’s feed, “Uh, well that’s the end of that.”

Friendfeed now joins Pownce as yet another Twitter-like social media service that was hyped by the “social mediarati” only to be acquired by another company with different designs on the industry.

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