FriendFeed: real-time feed aggregator
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Every so often in the Internet a new mega trend comes along that becomes a fundamental shift in the way of doing things. For example, there were search engines, and then there was the mage star called google that wiped the floor with the way the founders of google, Brin and Page were able to index the entire Internet with new ways to produce the most relevant search results. AltaVista was the King of search engines until Google, and they foolishly did not buy google very cheaply when they had the chance in the early days. There will always be many search engines, and there will always be a dominant one.
There will always be video uploading web sites like YouTube, and there will always be one dominant one.
Another mega trend was social networking which has come to us in many forms. Ranging from people launching their own blogs to interact with their own audience niches, through to Twitter and its system of enabling users to blast short messages to their followers, through to web sites like Friendster, MySpace and Facebook. Whilst Facebook has been the clear winner in terms of market success, a success they achieved by being very astute in the way they controlled their growth until server capacity was sufficient to roll it out to the next user group campus until they were strong enough to open the doors to the masses at large, even Facebook is myopic in many respects.
It is true that Facebook has enabled many developers to build “apps” that plug into the Facebook platform, enabling people to play games with each other, and to be able to use different ways to display their own information. And while it is easy enough for other business web sites to integrate Facebook with their own account creation and management tools, hoping to work with Facebook’s viral nature, all content of a social networking type related to Facebook stays within Facebook.
For all these mega trends that have appeared and true to for the new ones that will appear, there will be the market segment, the market segment leader, and there will be the support services and other plug in applications that work with the market segment leader and others.
FriendFeed Sends Your Friends You News
FriendFeed is all about being a support service for the social networking niche. It is a real time content feed aggregator. What it does is that it consolidates the updates from many social networking media sources. That is, it collects new content from a wide range of social networking web sites and from social bookmarking web sites as well as from millions of blogs and the Twitter styled micro blogging platforms and consolidates all these information flows into one feed. It even pulls in other RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and Atom data feeds and consolidates that too. In real terms, FriendFeed can be thought of as like a news wire feed, consolidating the news coming in from a vast array of sources; all having a social networking context.
By using FriendFeed it is possible to use it to build your own customizable stream of content; in essence allowing anyone to be a newscaster over the constant stream of new content coming in. FriendFeed collects the raw news from many sites, and with the users own editorial on top of it, and with their own followers adding their own additional comment, FriendFeed becomes new content in its own right. Users of FriendFeed can share their feed with friends from say Facebook, with contacts in their email address book, and now with smart phones and iPhones, the feed can also be shared with telephone contacts. People use it to build up their own niche audience of interested people; be it their family, their every day real life friends, or a following they grow online.
Become a News Commentator with FriendFeed
And it is by this means that FriendFeed seeks to have their web site as a way to bring new life to content on the Internet, making it more relevant, contextual and useful. By collection content from existing social networks, aggregating it all and allowing new content and comment to be added, FriendFeed is a tool for people to use to discover new and interesting information.
FriendFeed doesn’t care if its users are businesses, organizations or private individuals. It is all about them being able to pull together new content that is interesting for them, to the rebroadcast with their own targeted additional content as they see fit. Many people have blogged that FriendFeed has overcome many of the weaknesses in social networking, where many have always perceived that each social networking web site does not integrate with other social networking competing web sites. That is, Facebook does not integrate with MySpace for example. To counter this argument, some other bloggers have complained about FriendFeed that new content added to the FriendFeed does not appear on the blogs where the feed was first collected from.
The founders of FriendFeed are all former Google employees. It is the nature of Google’s work environment, built more around a university styled campus than a corporate profit hungry structure that many fertile minds have conceived of innovative products and services that the google founders did not carry through into production as one of their own service offerings. So it is not surprising when great minds then leave Google, taking their pet project to the market themselves directly.
Based in Mountain View, California, FriendFeed gets an average of about one million visitors monthly. Whilst the team worked with the RSS Internet protocol, they then further developed it with the Simple Update Protocol (SUP) which reduces the load put on all the web sites by aggregators, including FriendFeed.
Since its successful launch, interestingly Facebook has now bought the business. And a price of nearly fifty million dollars, in one action Facebook have brought in house a very useful service and technology, as well as removed FriendFeed as a competitor.