A chat with the co-founder of FriendFeed from JD Lasica on Vimeo.
Today came word that Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site, is buying the microblogging service FriendFeed.
This is interesting on a couple of levels. First, it provides further proof that Twitter — the microblogging platform that has taken the world by storm this year — is truly not for sale. Second, it ratchets up the faceoff between Facebook and Google for supremacy in the social networking space. The four co-founders of FriendFeed are all ex-Google employees. Co-founder Paul Buchheit (above), whom I interviewed a few weeks ago at the UGCX conference in San Jose, was the creator and lead developer of Gmail. He also suggested Google’s now-famous motto “Don’t be evil” in a 2000 meeting on company values according to Wikipedia
In this 10-minute interview, a relaxed Buchheit talks about the company’s origins and launch in October 2007 from the very simple idea of “letting me know what’s going on with my friends” (one co-founder came at it from the premise of “friend alerts”).
Early in our talk I asked Paul what differentiated FriendFeed from Facebooks’s personalized news stream and from Twitter. He said that FriendFeed tends to be more content- and communication-oriented, encouraging people to share tidbits about what’s going on with them, instead of alerting people what Facebook group they’d joined or whether they’d been bitten by a zombie.
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FriendFeed’s premise is quite similar to Twitter’s, and I should have asked Paul about how Twitter has successfully leveraged an outside developer community by letting coders build applications on top of its platform — and why FriendFeed hasn’t taken a similar approach. But we did get into some of the differences between the two services. I like how FriendFeed threads discussions, in a way similar to forums and bulletin boards, letting people chime in on interesting conversations and providing some context. You can also “Like” a posted item, which is an easy way of conveying your approval.