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Facebook acquires tiny networking site Friendfeed

Text by Sébastian SEIBT

Latest update : 2009-08-11

Facebook has acquried Friendfeed, a social networking site with a staff of only 12 and a user base of only one million. Some say the move was designed largely to poach the employees and their technological prowess.

Facebook, an Internet giant that draws 250 million visitors per day, has snatched up FriendFeed, another Silicon Valley website with only one million users, that allows members connect with friends and share content.

 

Financial details were not officially released but according to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook has paid 50 million dollars in a combination of cash and stocks to finalise the deal.

 

It’s a small acquisition for Facebook. Last year the networking site came close to putting 500 million dollars on the table to buy Twitter, the rising microblogging platform. Furthermore, FriendFeed is largely unknown outside the Web’s geek community.

 

FriendFeed is a social network aggregator that allows users to gather into one place and share messages, photos, files posted on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Orkut, etc. People who subscribe to a member’s stream see the updates appear in real-time and can comment on and discuss them.

 

 

Luxury recruitment

 

 

The consensus among Web watchers is that Facebook didn’t buy FriendFeed for its growth potential, but rather to recruit the startup’s well-known engineers. Four ex-Google employees founded FriendFeed in 2007; Paul Buchheit, Bret Taylor, Jim Norris and Sanjeev Singh.

 

Their credentials are first-rate.  They contributed to the design of several well-known applications such as Gmail and Google Maps. The entire FriendFeed team of 12 will move to the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California, with the four founders taking on senior engineering roles.

 

It’s not the first time Facebook has acquired a startup to recruit talented engineers. In 2007 the firm bought Parakey to snatch up founders of the Firefox browser. Parakey doesn’t exist anymore and Web users are wondering if the same fate awaits FriendFeed.

 

Although Facebook issued a statement saying its latest purchase would “continue to operate normally for the time being as the teams determine longer plans for the product”, several FriendFeed users voiced their concerns online.

 

“Do we call it FaceFeed? FriendBook?” read one post on Friendfeed.com.


 

Date created : 2009-08-11

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