FriendFeed Goes Live Real-Time: Should Facebook be Worried?

May 2, 2009

(ChattahBox)—FriendFeed launched its new beta version this week, offering users a harried real-time stream of information, together with the ability to join in on multi-person conversations to discuss the updates from the user’s feed sources. This move by FriendFeed is just another salvo across the bow of Facebook, which morphed into real-time mode last month. Or was Facebook’s real-time move a shot at FriendFeed?

With the advent of the real-time chat application Twitter, everyone is now trying to replicate the instant, up-to-the-minute feel of a tweet. The craving for live news is also taking its toll on Google’s search algorithms designed to handle a static web. It’s not up to snuff these days picking up live news and viral content, even as it places more importance on link velocity. And worse, blackhatter gangs who dump comments on social bookmarking sites are hijacking its popular search words, directing users to spam sites instead.

FriendFeed started as a handy tool to consolidate all of a user’s new updates and content from every single social bookmarking and networking site, blogs and RSS feeds. With its switch to live streaming, it’s now more focused on the live conversation between users discussing the constant stream of news.

Some people love the constant stream of live information. Others find it overwhelming and just can’t keep up. But real-time applications are the wave of the future. For overwhelmed users, FriendFeed offers a pause button.

Many users complained at first at the complete bombardment of live streaming updates, and begged the makers of FriendFeed to stop the insanity. But, users have discovered FriendFeed’s full-functioned filter, which allows a user to limit its feed sources and even the type of updates it receives, such as leaving out YouTube video feeds.

FriendFeed’s move to real-time comes on the heels of Facebook’s addition of a real-time news feed, or maybe FriendFeed was first. You see it’s hard to tell these days, because as soon as FriendFeed adds new features to its handy application, Facebook follows suit and vice versa. The two social sites have been engaged in a static battle to keep current for a while now, but now the fight has gone live.

Taking a look at Facebook’s live feed, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s more static than live, as a user has to refresh to get the latest updates. FriendFeed on the other hand, offers a continuous stream of live information, without the need to refresh. It just keeps piping in new updates from all of a user’s selected sources.

FriendFeed wins over Facebook with its easy to use and multi-faceted filters. Facebook’s filters are somewhat confusing to tinker with. But, that may soon change as Facebook updates its interface and adds an authentic real-time streaming of content like FriendFeed and Twitter currently offer.

FriendFeed surely has the edge with its founders and development team, all former Google employees. Paul Buchheit, the creator of Gmail and Adsense is the founder of FriendFeed together with other former Google developers, Paul Buchheit, Jim Norris, Sanjeev Singh and Bret Taylor.

Buchheit believes that FriendFeed is the wave of the future, convinced that his real-time social networking organizer will soon replace email, instant messaging applications and traditional blogging. That’s a bold claim, but as the creator of Gmail, he certainly has the credentials to make such a claim.

As for Facebook, it offers a user more than content streaming, with its huge networking features that is more like a social community.

Who will win out, Facebook or FriendFeed? It seems a power-user will certainly use both applications, but for now FriendFeed is winning the live real-time battle.

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3 Responses to “FriendFeed Goes Live Real-Time: Should Facebook be Worried?”

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