October 01, 2007 |
Anyone who has used Facebook knows the usefulness that the news feed provides. You can keep track of the online activity of your friends among various websites, now that there is a wide variety of available apps.
Now, take all the features of the Facebook News Feed, put them on their own as a service, and you have Friendfeed.
Once users provide the service with who they want to keep in touch with, they have a one-stop location to find out what friends are listening to on last.fm, what videos they like on YouTube, or what they have stumbled. In total, Friendfeed can track 23 different services, which also include Digg, Flickr, and Pownce.
Most interesting was the fact that Friendfeed wasted no time in including support for the new Google Shared Stuff bookmarking service, which seemed to lack true "social sharing" capabilities at the time of my review. Friendfeed has already helped me discover several links through Shared Stuff, in fact.
Nick O'Neill admits that the deal sounds "set up for a quick acquisition by Google; somewhat coincidental given that the founders are ex-Google Maps developers."
That's right… all four of the founders were previously employed by Google. Bret Taylor and Jim Norris, two of the programmers behind Google Maps, came up with the initial idea before being joined by Paul Buchheit and Sanjeev Singh, who were on the Gmail software design team. Perhaps that explains the early Google Shared Stuff support.
The Friendfeed service is available through its website, and also through a Facebook application, although I don't quite see the need given that Facebook users are already using the news feed this service replicates. In addition, FriendFeed is accessible through iGoogle among other feed readers. Users can also make their feed public, which then allows for embedding of FriendFeeds in blogs, profiles, and websites.
“This gives you a snapshot of what people you know think is interesting,” Mr. Taylor said. “It’s kind of a blog that writes itself.”
The service is currently in private beta testing on an invite-only status. The new company has already received attention from the New York Times which mentioned that "FriendFeed will be made available to several thousand users on Monday, and new users will gradually be permitted to join after that."