My 2 cts on Facebook buying Friendfeed

So Facebook buys Friendfeed? It’s all over the bloghosphere. Here’s the announcement. Initial consent seems to be that it was inevitable, and that the Friendfeed crowd is now worried about the continuity of the service.

My thoughts? I think this proves that Friendfeed never had a real business model (other than get bought).  The smartest (ex-) Googles build super smart technology, but didn’t have a clear view on how to make money with it. If they did, would they have sold out to Facebook? I somehow doubt that. These aren’t your average entrepreneurs that live on a couch, no money in the bank. They are well known, well respected engineers/entrepreneurs. I doubt they have a short term cash need. Selling Friendfeed to Facebook makes me think that they didn’t have a clear view on how to scale Friendfeed, nor on how to make a revenue engine fire up.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Friendfeed team has done amazing things with technology. But the question that remains in my head is, what makes Facebook so sure that this technology all of a sudden will generate revenue now that they can add scale to it? Is scale alone enough to make things work? I don’t think so. There must be an underlying value or need that makes a service or technology create value for its users. Friendfeed has great technology but not enough value to scale on its own (we’ll never know now).

Facebook does’t care about Friendfeed imo. They just bought themselves a brilliant engineering team. That’s way more important than the service itself. I hope it will work out for the Friendfeed team. Google once did the same thing with Jaiku. I wonder how these guys are doing now? Are they running the show at Google’s Android/Wave developments? Will Bret Taylor and Paul Buchheit become the real-time engineers for Facebook? Or will they slowly fade away in a huge organization? Only time will tell. Congratulations to them on a great deal though!

Another thought that comes to mind is this crazyness over real-time search. I think it is taking on ridiculous proportions. Real-time search will be a nice new feature set in search. it’s  not going to replace anything. And once everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, spilling his guts. What do you think the next gen will do?

Knowing things before they actually happen, now that would be cool!

About vanelsas

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2 Responses to My 2 cts on Facebook buying Friendfeed

  1. Bertil says:

    I’d have to agree: Facebook bought the profiles & the tech, not the community (who were all having one tab in Fb and another on FF 18+ hours a day anyway). However, I’d have to disagee with you on FriendFeed’s member motivation: they probably want to see sophisticated social interaction expand beyond their current base. Two solutions were obvious: have Facebook user-base switch (unlikely), or pool tech — and the later could only happend through a buyout, given the stages. They’ll now probably encourage a Facebook beta with more geeky settings and proper relevance algorithms (or at least I hope they will) available to 250M users, not just Scoble’s actual friends. Between enough money to have a thrilling time until they all die and a randomly superior amount, they took the safe solution — fair.

    Let’s now just hope that the handfull will shift the balance towards more open standards inside Facebook.

  2. Wes says:

    Great points. But the valuation seems a bit low even if scale is poor for conversational tools. But, what exactly happens to grow these tools when the audiences involved seem very different?

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