People were confused when Facebook acquired FriendFeed. The purists would tell me that FriendFeed is not like Twitter, even though it is.
Stranglely, everyone that was using FriendFeed was excited at the acquisition. When the celebration settled down, people began to question why Facebook acquired FriendFeed.
Robert Scoble and others suggest that the real reason Facebook acquired FriendFeed was to compete against Google.
“This is Facebook firing a shot at Google, not at Twitter,” Robert Scoble wrote on his blog. “Twitter is mere collateral damage but Facebook knows the real money in real time is in search. FriendFeed has real time search. Google does not (although it’s bootstrapping there very fast, some of my FriendFeed items are showing up in Google within seconds now). Facebook has 300 million users. FriendFeed and Twitter do not. Google has Wave coming, along with some other things this fall and that forced a shotgun marriage between FriendFeed and Facebook.”
At the time of the announcement, I was convince that Facebook was buying FriendFeed to go after Twitter, not Google.
And when TechCrunch reported that Facebook is beta-testing a light version of the popular social networking site, my assumptions became true. Even though the social network has been dropping subtle hints that they want to go after Twitter.
Facebook opened up their API at the beginning of the year to allow third-party developers to pull status updates from Facebook. “We’re launching several new APIs for Facebook Platform today,” Chris Putnam wrote on the Facebook developer blog in February 2009. “These new interfaces open up access to the content and methods for sharing through several Facebook Applications — including Facebook Status, Notes, Links (what we used to call Posted Items), and Video — to go along with the APIs already available for uploading and viewing through Facebook Photos.”
Facebook even tried to buy Twitter back in 2008 for $500 million. Twitter turned down the offer from Facebook as the company should “still take a shot at building its revenues–there are none right now–as well as it had done at building its growth, “ Kara Swisher of AllThingsD reported.
Its unclear if the acquisition will move people from Twitter to FriendFeed. Facebook can lure people away from Twitter if they present a strong language: you can type more than 140 characters and we’re more reliable than Twitter!