Facebook + FriendFeed = Social Search Perfected?

Facebook’s wallet is a bit lighter this morning following the social network’s purchase of FriendFeed, a social sharing and communication service (think Twitter but cleaner, easier to find stuff, and without all the Hollywood celebrities). According to Jessica Vascellaro at The Wall Street Journal, Facebook paid nearly $50 million for FriendFeed – about $15 million in cash and the rest in Facebook stock.

Who is this FriendFeed?

friendfeed-facebookWith this acquisition, Facebook gets the talented team of ex-Google engineers who founded FriendFeed, including Paul Buchheit who coined Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto.

FriendFeed released a private version in October 2007 followed by an official public launch in February 2008.

How does this affect FriendFeed users?

According to Bret Taylor via the FriendFeed blog:

FriendFeed.com will continue to operate normally for the time being. We’re still figuring out our longer-term plans for the product with the Facebook team. As usual, we will communicate openly about our plans as they develop…

In addition, Taylor states that the FriendFeed API will “continue to operate normally.

How does this affect Facebook users?

Obviously it’s too soon to tell exactly how FriendFeed will be integrated into Facebook, but if the social network’s mission is to truly “give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected” then Facebook just stepped on the social sharing/search gas pedal.

FriendFeed has been an innovator in social sharing and search since its inception. A month after its public release, FriendFeed added the functionality to search by friends, individual shared items, or all of FriendFeed. Last month FriendFeed rolled out real-time, instantly streaming search. Together these features resemble the real-time search functions that Facebook released yesterday.

According (again) to Bret Taylor’s blog post:

Now we have the opportunity to bring many of the innovations we’ve developed at FriendFeed to Facebook’s 250 million users around the world and to work alongside Facebook’s passionate engineers to create even more ways for you to easily share with your friends online.

Many people in the communal web strategy department are speculating that FriendFeed is the platform Facebook will use to perfect the science of social search.

After all, if you can find the answers you’re searching for from your trusted circle of friends and colleagues, why turn to an automated search engine? Moving forward, this is the question Facebook will surely want people asking themselves?

And with FriendFeed, the world’s most popular social network may have the answer already in hand.