Feeds

Facebook secures ex-Google brain trust

FriendFeed buy nets nimble minds

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Facebook has agreed to acquire FriendFeed, a file, photo, video, and message-sharing website whose co-founders are all former Googlers, one of whom coined Google's renowned motto, "Don't be evil."

Perhaps the most important assets that Facebook will land as a result of the acquisition won't be FriendFeed's technology, but instead their staff - especially two of the co-founders, Paul Buchheit and Bret Taylor.

When at Google in the mid-1990s, Buchheit birthed that company's content-based ad targeter, AdSense. He was also the brains behind Gmail and famously dreamed up Google's somewhat debatable motto during a "corporate-values" brainstorming session back in 2001.

Co-founder Bret Taylor's résumé is also impressive, having been Google's group product manager during Google Maps' development. The remaining two co-founders, Jim Norris and Sanjeev Singh, are not exactly chopped liver themselves, having also "played key roles" in Google engineering, according to today's announcement.

In the same canned statement, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg had good things to say about FriendFeed's "simple and elegant service for people to share information," but also focused on the acquisition of minds over technology. "As this [acquisition] shows, our culture continues to make Facebook a place where the best engineers come to build things quickly that lots of people will use."

The Mountain View, California-based FriendFeed has a total of 12 employees and will, according to the announcement, conduct business as usual until decisions are made as to how their new parent will use their technology.

Taylor also noted in a separate blog post that "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."

But as might be expected in an acquisition announcement, Taylor sounds raring to go. "We can’t wait to join the team and bring many of the innovations we’ve developed at FriendFeed to Facebook’s 250 million users around the world," he enthused.

Although 12 new people won't change Facebook overnight, Buchheit and Taylor have both shown how a few fine engineering minds can help transform an entire company. You can't help but think that members of the Google brain trust are kicking themselves over the ones that got away.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not revealed, but, as Taylor put it, "As my mom explained to me, when two companies love each other very much, they form a structured investment vehicle..." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.