Y Combinator – Stay N Alive

With Facebook Messages, Has Facebook Reached FriendFeed Nirvana?

There’s no doubt of the FriendFeed team’s influence on Facebook after they were acquired a year ago.  Bret Taylor, CEO of FriendFeed is now the CTO of Facebook after all.  Even before the acquisition of FriendFeed, Facebook was taking cues from the service, adding “like” buttons to posts, something available on FriendFeed for quite some time, and turning on a pseudo-real-time stream, a token of what made people love or hate FriendFeed.  With Facebook Messages, Facebook has added yet an additional piece of the FriendFeed puzzle – that of messaging, something FriendFeed added only months before their acquisition to Facebook, but what happened to be one of my favorite parts of FriendFeed.  The idea being that, in real-time, I could post private messages to individual friends or groups, and see the updates happen in a thread, in real-time, with that individual for that message.  In addition, I could set notification settings – whether I got notified by e-mail or IM when new messages appeared.  Lastly, my username@friendfeed.com (jessestay@friendfeed.com) automatically places any message sent to it into my personal inbox.  Sound familiar?

I thought I’d go through the various features Facebook has integrated that FriendFeed had first:

  • The “like” button
  • Real-time stream
  • Real-time group messaging and e-mail addresses for those groups
  • Integration with Twitter (Facebook only does this with Pages at the moment)
  • usernames
  • Real-time direct messaging
  • e-mail address for each user profile
  • Notification preferences for messaging
  • Simplified API – OAuth WRAP Authorization (now OAuth 2.0 on Facebook)

With the new Messaging product, Facebook has pretty much fully absorbed FriendFeed’s best features.  The only thing left for Facebook is a more real-time stream that auto-updates (right now I have to click to get real-time to update on Facebook), and a better search product.  Paul Buchheit, co-founder of FriendFeed, who recently left Facebook to join Y-Combinator, stated that one of his last projects upon leaving was a search product.  Could that be the icing on the cake?

Paul Buchheit mentioned that a beautiful butterfly would emerge as a result of the FriendFeed acquisition.  With the final pieces of Facebook Messages coming into place, I think we’re finally seeing that.  In an interview I did with Paul at Facebook’s F8 conference earlier this year Paul suggested that the Butterfly he was inferring was “all around us”, and that “the butterfly is not one, but multiple butterflies that permeate both FriendFeed and the Facebook Platform, and will continue to grow.”

FriendFeed has indeed permeated the Facebook environment.  Facebook is more open.  They’re more beautiful.  They’re more functional and more useful.   For the die-hard FriendFeed fans like myself out there, it’s becoming much much harder to deny the fact that Facebook is very quickly absorbing the usefulness of FriendFeed one feature at a time.

For those still using the service, what else does Facebook need to add to make FriendFeed completely useless?

You can always follow me on FriendFeed, for which I occasionally still check and always read comments, at http://friendfeed.com/jessestay.  Or, feel free to like me at http://facebook.com/stay or friend me at http://facebook.com/jessestay and we can talk further about this.

Photo courtesy CNet.tv