Facebook buys Friendfeed to take on Twitter and Google

Facebook bought FriendFeed yesterday for one-tenth what it was willing to pay for Twitter. It may be a double bargain if the purchase allows them to move past Twitter in the real-time search war.

Twitter recently redesigned its homepage to show off its real-time search, while Google is working on caffeine, a souped up version of its search engine, which is sporting faster and more relevant search results. Facebook may soon be able to top both products from Google and Twitter, if they successfully blend FriendFeed's real-time search features.

A core reason Facebook bought FriendFeed is for its talent, including ex-Google (GOOG) engineers, and its ability to help with real-time search. Many, including blogger and FriendFeed advocate Robert Scoble, would argue that FriendFeed does Twitter better than Twitter. Moreover, they bought it for a fraction of what they could have paid for Twitter. All Things Digital's Kara Swisher wrote that Facebook paid $50 million for Mountain View, California-based FriendFeed and its 12 employees.

"Some might think FriendFeed was a second choice acquisition for Facebook, since the company couldn't land Twitter last year," wrote Mashable's Josh Catone. "But FriendFeed was probably the smarter choice." Facebook has more than 250 million users. Match that with FriendFeed's technology and engineers, who are now senior members of the Facebook team, and Twitter has cause to be nervous about a stronger rival in Facebook. The purchase comes as Facebook has been pushing its users to open up their updates to better emulate what Twitter is already doing.

Google has Microsoft (MSFT) and its Bing search engine to content with, plus Twitter's real-time search engine. Add Facebook to the list of search-wannabes. Search is where the money is online, Google has shown, and the bees are gathering to feast upon the search nest. Searching for what's next in search? Facebook will soon be part of the Web's race for a superior real-time search experience.

Anthony Massucci is a senior writer for DailyFinance. You may follow him on Twitter at hianthony.

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