I had the opportunity to spend a brief few minutes with Paul Buchheit, co-creator of FriendFeed.com, which was recently acquired by Facebook end of last year. In our interview, I asked Paul where “the Butterfly” was that was mentioned by him shortly after the acquisition (you can read more about that here). Paul seemed much more enthusiastic than Bret Taylor was when I asked him in the Press Conference earlier in the day. In short: the butterfly is not one, but multiple butterflies that permeate both FriendFeed and the Facebook Platform, and will continue to grow.
In conversation after the interview, Paul mentioned while not as much resources were put into FriendFeed as before, he was still releasing updates and continuing to do so. He even hinted at the potential for better Facebook integration now that the 24 hour storage limit has been lifted from the Facebook Platform. (He mentioned that was the biggest impact on them not integrating Facebook Connect more, and as a developer, I agree) Paul reminded me that they’re still releasing features (the most recent being just a few weeks ago), and their move to the new Facebook-hosted servers which they’re currently hosted on.
When asked which developer platform to develop for, Paul’s answer was to look at your needs. Facebook Platform of course has over 400+ million users, while with FriendFeed you may get some added aggregation capabilities you wouldn’t get from Facebook. You could tell by his voice that he still has a deep love for FriendFeed, and seemed to have no intentions to abandon it. In fact, his entire presentation (you can watch here – click on “previous sessions” on the right) was around the Tornado Framework which FriendFeed is based on, something Facebook doesn’t really have intention on integrating into their own environment.
So, it would appear, that the butterflies he mentioned earlier are none other than the Open Graph API, the move from centralized data silos, to an entire web of meta-linked data which is unreliant on any one source to get at the data. The butterfly that has emerged has transformed into many, which anyone, anywhere on the web can gain access.
The full interview can be found on my Cinch page – you can listen to it below: