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Facebook’s target with FriendFeed
What is the world’s largest social network really buying with the purchase of social aggregator FriendFeed?
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acebook, the world’s largest social network, just bought FriendFeed for a rumored $50 million, said Tom Taulli in BloggingStocks. "Ultimately, this looks like a way to put pressure on Twitter,” which Facebook recently tried and failed to purchase. Like Twitter, FriendFeed is a social aggregator, letting you follow people’s thoughts on various topics in real time, on sites including Twitter and Facebook, but also on Flickr and some 55 others.

This may look like “an assault on Twitter,” said Douglas MacMillan in BusinessWeek. But the real target is Google and “the next great frontier on the Web: real-time search.” It’s no coincidence that FriendFeed’s 12 employees include superstar ex-Googlers who brought us Gmail and Google Maps. With FriendFeed’s far superior search engine, Facebook could actually siphon some business from Google, too.

Maybe, but this “isn’t the search Web users are used to from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo,” said Jessica Vascellaro in The Wall Street Journal. Unless a “friend” posted it, for example, Facebook’s search “won’t get you the Wikipedia entry on North Korea.” But if FaceBook can match its large database of personal information with search ads, it could dip into Google’s multibillion-dollar cash cow.

Am I the only one who thinks this isn’t that “ridiculously huge of a deal”? said Caroline McCarthy in CNET News. FriendFeed has been “coasting on a lot of hype,” and not the mainstream type. The story here isn’t even FriendFeed per se—it’s that Facebook just made a “rather expensive hire.” We’ll see later what the 12 “very talented former Googlers” really bring to the table.

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