This is potentially huge – Facebook has acquired Friendfeed:
Obviously Facebook has already built out some of FriendFeedâ€™s functionality so there is some overlap, but there are still numerous ways FriendFeed beats out Facebookâ€™s News Feed setup. One of these is the way stories are â€˜floatedâ€™ to the top as new users comment on them. And FriendFeedâ€™s system is truly real-time, unlike Facebookâ€™s feed which users have to manually refresh.
But the biggest win here for Facebook is the FriendFeed team, which includes an all-star cast of ex-Googlers.
Still very much a breaking news story but I am sure the Techcrunch folks will update with more info as they get it.
The obvious motivation here is to pound on Twitter’s “statusphere” market share. The big drawback of FF until now was that it was just a “better Twitter” – but without Twitter, 90% of the purpose of using Friendfeed was essentially rendered moot (as was the case with the DDOS attack over the weekend). But by folding in FF’s feedslurping uber-twitter capability, Facebook can create a one-stop shop, making all facebook users who are also on twitter stay within facebook for their twittering, which of course keeps them in control of the ad viewing. A souped-up Friendfeed application for Facebook seems likely; or even more likely, a new default Facebook tab (“Feeds” ?). This is technology that the Facebook people are going to want to put front and center.
The adoption of FF-ish features like commenting on everything and “Likes” are also unique to the FB/FF ecosystem and these should be integrated. Even google got into the “Likes” act so I think Twitter is going to have to respond to this by introducing that feature at least (which would incidentally be useful in meta-twitter metrics of who to follow and whatnot). I also don’t see how Twitter can resist the inevitable “groups” feature to compete with Friendfeed’s Rooms. I actually use Rooms to power virtual groups on Twitter like @otakusphere.
Twitter has serious catch-up to do, feature-wise, but until now they haven’t felt any real competitive pressure because no one else had the numbers to threaten them. With Facebook’s takeover of Friendfeed, however, the game has just changed dramatically.
UPDATE: It’s confirmed: Facebook and Friendfeed are now in a relationship. It’s complicated.