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Media Morph: FriendFeed

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Every week Ad Age Digital's Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: FriendFeed.

WHAT IT IS: A tool that helps you keep track of the content your friends are sharing online and allows for discussion around that content. It's been compared to Facebook's newsfeed feature, except rather than telling you what your friends are doing on Facebook, it aggregates many of the different actions your online friends or contacts engage in when they're not on Facebook.

WHO'S USING IT: The site opened up to everyone at the end of February and so far is popular with bloggers and Twitter users.

WHO'S BEHIND IT: A bunch of former Google execs man the start-up. Bret Taylor, a former Google product manager, and Jim Norris, software engineer, launched Google Maps together; they developed FriendFeed while they were entrepreneurs in residence at Benchmark Capital. Paul Buchheit, the engineer behind Gmail and widely accredited source of Google's "Don't Be Evil" motto, is also onboard.

THE BIG PICTURE: People use many different micro-services on the web that are not always owned by the same companies, so it can be hard to keep track of your friends who are using all of those services to upload and share content. FriendFeed aims to make that easier.

THE MARKETER ANGLE: Mr. Buchheit suggests marketers should embrace FriendFeed as just another online communication tool, much as they have blogs and Twitter. He's not sure if any political candidates are using it, but candidate supporters have certainly set up FriendFeed accounts to aggregate candidates' online content.

As for ads, Mr. Buchheit says, "It'll require some experimentation," but he said there's opportunity for relevant advertising.For example, a movie-studio ad would make a perfect companion for a discussion on a film.
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