The Rise and Fall of FriendFeed

FriendFeed may you rest in peace.   You rose as a startup during a time when others rose as well but quickly fell away.  You gave us features, innovation, and friends interested in the same things.  You showed us what the real-time web will be like.  You showed us real time search.  You kept all of our data and allowed all of our historical content to be searched.   Please don’t go.

FriendFeed the early adopter heralded life-stream social network founded by ex-Googlers has been purchased by the popular Facebook.

Facebook the giant social network has lots of features but rarely anything interesting beyond family photos and generic status messages.  The tech early adopter crowd is surely present but certainly not interested and engaged.  Facebook also has a big problem with user rights.  User accounts have been removed for seemingly no reason on several occasions.

The FriendFeed userbase is small.  While Facebook’s number of users is estimated at near 300 million.

FriendFeed defined lifestream.  FriendFeed was able to innovative constantly over a several year period.  The features seem to always keep coming but the service has never seemed to hit its mainstream slide.  As Facebook and Twitter continue to pile on users FriendFeed’s growth was slower.

The best product does not always win.  Just look at Betamax.  But in business startups come and go.  Tech startups certainly come and go.  The tech giants have always gobbled up the innovative little guy.   FriendFeed is the innovative little guy.

For a company with 14 employees to innovate to the point that the giant company with 800 employees and 300 million users would steal enhancement after enhancement.  That they would then seek out to purchase the little guy shows the quality of FriendFeed.

Others have weighed in so let’s start there:

Let me go on record as saying congrats to the FriendFeed dev team.  They were offered a chance to develop a product with an immense user base.  Their growth was slower and this had to be a tremendous opportunity for them.

I have written this saying this is the demise or the beginning of the end for FriendFeed.  But others are more optimistic.

Robert Scoble sees this as Facebook gaining a “real-time, R&D team.”   Jesse Stay says, “FriendFeed has a very competent team.  We still don’t know what was in that contract they signed.  Sure, we have some hints, but FriendFeed has yet to let us down.  They have a perfect track record for long-time users of their service.”

Head on over to FriendFeed and check the very worried community.  Only time will tell.  Good luck FriendFeed and if this is farewell it was fun while it lasted.

3 thoughts on “The Rise and Fall of FriendFeed”

  1. Franklin,

    You're right, Friendfeed did a lot of innovative things over a relatively short period of time. It will be interesting to see how Facebook integrates all the Friendfeed good-ness. Nice post!

  2. For what it's worth, I found this on Jesse Stay's Facebook page. And therein lies the point. While some disagree with my admittedly minority view, I believe that just a few tech changes on Facebook's side could result in a re-creation of the FriendFeed experience with a much larger user base. (FYI, my three sugggested changes are the ability to incorporate multiple RSS feeds into a fan page, the bumping of items with recent comments/likes to the top of a Facebook page, and an allowance for pseudonyms on Facebook.)

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