Facebook gobbling up FriendFeed

All 12 employees to remain on board

Facebook has acquired the two-year-old startup FriendFeed, which has built a Web-based tool that enables people to interact with multiple social networking platforms all in one place. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based FriendFeed was founded by four former Google executives, including Bret Taylor, who launched Google Maps, and Paul Buchheit, the brains behind Gmail.

The idea behind FriendFeed is to simplify digital communications by allowing users to share information, links, videos and the like through multiple communications platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and e-mail. Users can then carry on a live conversation with different friend groups, regardless of what platform those friends are using.

Facebook officials said that all 12 FriendFeed employees will be retained as part of the acquisition, and FriendFeed's four founders will assume senior roles within Facebook's engineering and product teams.

The acquisition of FriendFeed would not appear to have any immediate revenue or advertising implications for Facebook. However the startup is one of several companies at the forefront of "real time" communications on the Web, a concept which has been buoyed by microblogging services Twitter and soon adopted by Facebook as well as the portals AOL and Yahoo.

Some advocates of this highly integrated and instantaneous communications see it having a major impact on content delivery and search -- as more Web users potentially opt to receive information through friends circles rather than publishers and media companies.