All sorts of theories coming up now following Facebook's acquisition of Friendfeed. The acquisition reportedly cost Facebook $50 million, $15 million it in cash and the rest in stock.
The Guardian's technology editor Charles Arthur argues that it helps Facebook bamboozle Google by making Facebook the largest space on the web that Google cannot index properly because the number of "friends" or followers is not the same as inbound links that Google uses to index sites. The acquisition also provides Facebook with three of Google's former star employees who played a key role in turning Google into what it is today.
Arthur writes: "The FriendFeed team will in effect become Facebook's research team, trying to find ways to implement that improved search and pull people who would otherwise be using external networks – particularly Twitter – on to Facebook. Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be more than a place to talk to your friends: ultimately, he wants it to be an internet in itself where his company knows what is going on all the time."
It will be interesting to see what this will do for Twitter. As reported here, Facebook is now pulling ahead of Twitter. New figures from comScore show that Facebook recorded 87.7 million unique US visitors during July. That's a 14% lead on Twitter which only recorded 21.2 million unique visitors.
Even more interesting will be to watch what this will do do social networking. As Chadwick Matlin writes in the Washington Post , Facebook plans to become the Huffington Post of social media, a massive aggregator.
"To understand why, we must understand FriendFeed, a start-up that is ubiquitous among techies and unknown to everybody else," Matlin writes. "It's a sleek application that acts as a clearinghouse for all of your social-media activities. Post something to Flickr? That will show up on your FriendFeed page. Digg something? FriendFeed will know. Post to Twitter from your phone? FriendFeed will syndicate your tweets. Once you initially tell it where to look, it will collect everything and tell it to the world."
The interesting part will be to see whether Facebook will start expanding into Google's territory. Watch this space.