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Reactions on Facebook-Friendfeed: Robert Scoble

Posted in Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on August 13, 2009

Robert Scoble, American blogger, technical evangelist, and author, profiled the Facebook’s acquisition of Friendfeed and was one of the first people to interview Friendfeed’s founders post the acquisition event. Here’s presenting his reaction and comments to the acquisition:

1. This is Facebook firing a shot at Google, not at Twitter. Twitter is mere collateral damage but Facebook knows the real money in real time is in search. FriendFeed has real time search. Google does not (although it’s bootstrapping there very fast, some of my FriendFeed items are showing up in Google within seconds now). Facebook has 300 million users. FriendFeed and Twitter do not. Google has Wave coming, along with some other things this fall and that forced a shotgun marriage between FriendFeed and Facebook.
2. FriendFeed is dead. I will keep using it until Paul unplugs the last server, which could be years, but let’s be honest, the FriendFeed engineering team will make a MUCH BIGGER impact if it gets real time search working for 300 million people.
3. FriendFeed’s social graph? Unknown what happens to that. Facebook doesn’t allow me to have more than 5,000 friends unless I move them all over to my Facebook Group, which I guess I’ll start doing now.
4. Facebook’s news feed? If I were Zuckerberg I’d keep the one they have but roll in some of the nice FriendFeed features like real time comments.
5. Places that this marriage is great?
+ Profiles. FriendFeed doesn’t have them, Facebook does, so this makes everyone on both sides of the fence better off.
+ Applications. FriendFeed doesn’t have them, Facebook does.
+ Friend management. Facebook’s management and privacy features are lots better than FriendFeed’s were.
+ Photos and videos. These are things that FriendFeed didn’t do much of, and relied on other services for.
6. Things I’m sad about?
+ FriendFeed’s groups were better for me than Facebook’s were.
+ FriendFeed’s community was geekier and more fun, for me. No (or almost no) celebrities, very few jerks, lots of engagement that I don’t get on Facebook, and no spammers.
+ FriendFeed’s rules were much looser and I’ve never heard of someone legitimate getting kicked off of FriendFeed. If there’s one part of Facebook that scares me, it’s this one.
+ This guarantees that no developers will jump into the FriendFeed pool, at least not now. Too many uncertainties. So, if you were waiting for a great iPhone app, or for Seesmic to get FriendFeed capability, I doubt that will happen.
7. What does this mean for Twitter? Well, Twitter’s search really sucks compared to FriendFeed’s, so Twitter will hunker down, I’m sure, and get its search up to par. On FriendFeed you could do far better filtering and you can look back to the beginning of FriendFeed, while Twitter only shows you the last few days. On FriendFeed the search was also true real time.
8. What would I do if I were at Facebook? I would get real time search done as fast as possible for all users. I would find a way to get FriendFeed users into Facebook (and bring their social graph’s with them, we’ve worked hard to build those graphs and they are different than the ones I’ve built in Facebook already). I would look at building FriendFeed as an R&D garden for Facebook. Let the FriendFeed team iterate and build fun stuff, but then have the 800 employees at Facebook take the innovations and roll them into FriendFeed.

The future of social media (in context of Facebook – Friendfeed marriage)

Posted in Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on August 13, 2009

The Facebook and the Friendfeed marriage could have much larger future implications on social networking, content indexing and real time search. In the triangulur contest between Google, Facebook and Twitter, each of these players had one big speciality. Facebook has bad search for the vast quantity of content generated by its users worldwide.  Google has good search but is not optimized for breaking news or user generated content.  Twitter has adequate search for its content, generated by a small percentage of its users generating to keep the rest of the world up to date on breaking news; however, at 45M users it’s dwarfed by Facebook’s 250M users.FriendFeed has a powerful search engine on status and aggregates from multiple sources, including Twitter and Facebook, but doesn’t have the cache of any of the aforementioned players.

So Facebook + FriendFeed combination becomes interesting because 1) it allows Facebook to tap into the real-time stream of consciousness that Twitter does so well, and 2) it acquires a real-time search engine to further support its efforts to improve search (which has been in beta testing since June), including the recent incorporation of Microsoft’s Bing.  This, on the surface, would seem as though the “Face-Feed” combination is taking direct aim at Twitter (#1) and Google (#2). (or is it the other way around?)

It’s clear that social media is becoming a core asset that the big players want to protect and cultivate.  Once the dust settles, it will have a fundamental impact on how brands communicate with consumers.

Enter Blu Ray

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on August 13, 2009

Having lost the video format war, Toshiba Corp is now getting into manufacturing of Blu-Ray disc products. The Japanese electronics maker had backed the high definition video format, HD DVD against the Blue Ray Disc association. The Blue ray association is backed by Japanese rivals Sony Corp and Panasonic Corp. This move is reminiscent of Sony’s strategy after its Betamax videotape standard lost to Panasonic in the 1980’ss and Sony then ended up making VHS products.

Blue Ray HD DVD

It was speculated that Toshiba may skip making Blue Ray products and instead try and develop an even more sophisticated video technology. This move could also have been because of the fact that Toshiba has registered its biggest loss ever (444 billion yen, around $3.5 billion) in the last financial year. Given the economic sluggishness Toshiba may not be keen on investing into a higher order video format standard and has taken to the Blu Ray instead.

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