Five years later, Facebook is shutting down FriendFeed

Steven Loeb · March 9, 2015 · Short URL:

Real-time feed aggregator FriendFeed was one of Facebook's first major acquisitions back in 2009

Remember real-time feed aggregator FriendFeed? The company that was purchased in 2009 as one of Facebook's first major acquisitions? Probably not. Well, for those of you who do, it is now time to finally say goodbye once and for all.

The company is being shut down, it was revealed in a blog post on Monday. The reason is because, as you probably guessed, nobody was using it anymore.

"We wanted to let you know that FriendFeed will be shutting down soon," the company wrote. "We've been maintaining the service since we joined Facebook five years ago, but the number of people using FriendFeed has been steadily declining and the community is now just a fraction of what it once was. Given this, we've decided that it's time to start winding things down."

As of Monday, FriendFeed will no longer be accepting new sign ups. Users will be able to view their posts, messages, and photos until April 9th. After that, FriendFeed will be shut down for good.

"We've been maintaining FriendFeed for the last five years, but usage has been declining steadily and the community is now just a fraction of what it once was," a Facebook spokesperson told VatorNews. "Given this, we've decided that it's time to start winding things down."

Founded in 2007 by former Google employees Bret Taylor, Paul Buchheit, Jim Norris and Sanjeev Singh, FriendFeed allows users to take links, photos or posts, put them into a “customized feed” that can then share them with friends, family and co-workers.

At the time of its purchase, which is said to have been for roughly $50 million, Vator opined that Facebook had bought the company in order to fight off the then new threat coming from Twitter. At the time Facebook already had its NewsFeed, and it was clear even at the time that the purchase of FriendFeed was made to bolster that existing product. We said that the purchase would allow the company to put to work a team that would allow it to get a better handle on both organizing content and giving its users better real-time updates. 

Even in its original blog post announcing the deal, it was revealed that "all FriendFeed employees will join Facebook and FriendFeed’s four founders will hold senior roles on Facebook’s engineering and product teams."

Since then, the FriendFeed team has helped Facebook on its Platform and Facebook Search initiatives.

The company would continue to operate normally "for the time being as the teams determine the longer term plans for the product." That was five years ago, and Facebook has basically allowed it to shrivel away and die in that time.

Viewed in that context, it's actually pretty suprising that FriendFeed lasted as long as it did. 

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