Facebook FriendFeed Fascination
Facebook, with 250 million users to feed, announced some restless moves this week. On Monday they agreed to purchase FriendFeed, a social media service that is highly valued for its innovative engineering by a few hardy souls. All Facebook expressed the majority opinion on the deal - Facebook is primarily interested in the strong talent that created FriendFeed (and Gmail and Google Maps before that). It is an excellent social aggregator but FriendFeed also excels at hosting conversations, a trait that Ian Schaefer feels will serve Facebook very well and that prompted ReadWriteWeb to describe how the in depth conversations could help to create a new Facebook.
Facebook is often criticized for being a walled garden while FriendFeed is celebrated as the most open of platforms. This has scared some FriendFeed users and Bnet seized on the possible culture clash to offer one of the few highly negative assessments of the deal. More commonly, the bloggers felt that FriendFeed would help to bring the walls down. Inside Facebook was a key source predicting that a more open Facebook would emerge.
Another hint of the Facebook future was revealed a few hours later when they announced new real time search features that were improved but still way short of the FriendFeed system they had just purchased. Then on Wednesday word got out about Facebook Lite, which was immediately characterized as Twitterization but was quickly explained by TechCrunch as a move to make Facebook easier to use in low bandwidth, international situations.
The events of the week seemed to confirm Facebook's ambition to become a one stop hub for all of your online networking and more. The implications for marketers remain obvious and Website Magazine offered a reminder that those who ignore Facebook do so at their own peril.