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August 11, 2009

Facebook to acquire sharing service start-up FriendFeed

Can this acquisition help Facebook leapfrog Twitter?

By CBR Staff Writer

Facebook has agreed to buy FriendFeed, a silicon-valley start-up that allows users to share links, content and their friends’ status online.

FriendFeed was founded in 2007 by four former Google software engineers Bret Taylor, Buchheit, Jim Norris and Sanjeev Singh. The sharing service allows users to keep track of their friends activities across all sorts of social media sites.

Bret Taylor, said: “Facebook and FriendFeed share a common vision of giving people tools to share and connect with their friends. We can’t wait to join the team and bring many of the innovations we’ve developed at FriendFeed to Facebook’s 250 million users around the world.”

As part of the agreement, all FriendFeed employees will join Facebook and its four founders will hold senior roles on Facebook’s engineering and product teams.

Facebook said that FriendFeed.com will continue to operate normally for the time being as the teams determine the longer term plans for the product. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Ray Valdes, analyst at Gartner, said in a blogpost that Facebook is not acquiring FriendFeed either for its users or for its raw technology.

“Facebook is acquiring FriendFeed for its talent pool, and more importantly for its sense of mission: to open up “walled garden” social sites and shift the world to the distributed social web, a web of interoperable sites that share data in real-time,” he added.

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Earlier, Facebook reportedly made a failed attempt to buy microblogging site Twitter. FriendFeed is considered to be similar to Twitter which enables users to share links and content online.

Valdes added: “Over the past year, Facebook already has implemented real-time Twitter-like features, as well as FriendFeed-like interoperability and social architecture. This acquisition moves Facebook further in that direction and allows it to leapfrog Twitter in some respects.”

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