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Craig Kerstiens

Site Review: Friendfeed

There’s been a lot of buzz in the valley lately around this very small startup, that has a few pretty heavy hitters. Between the four founders they have worked on nearly all of the Google products so many know and love, with the exception of search. Paul Bucheit, is even responsible for Google’s current motto, “don’t be evil”. These four guys not only are visionaries within the web space, they also know how to deliver a product, having helped build and scale gmail and google maps is indeed a noteworthy accomplishment.

But what about their current task at hand, to be web 3.0 and reduce the noise of all of the web 2.0 tools out there. Well, first let me summarize what friendfeed does. When you sign up for friendfeed you add your web 2.0 accounts (currently supporting 35), some of note are: facebook, google talk, iLike, digg, twitter, flickr, picasa, youtube, yelp, and others. Friendfeed then creates a feed of you, so you can send the link to anyone and they can have a single source for updates to all of your web 2.0 interactions. Friendfeed does do a little more than that though, they attempt to filter out some of the noise by grouping your interactions together. For someone like Robert Scoble that on a given day could post 1000 tweets, you likely don’t want to see each one as a single line item. Friendfeed will group these and give you a short preview, then allow you to drill down.

All-in-all friendfeed is a reasonable service and will continue to be talked about in the valley for the coming year and then spread elsewhere in the world. However there are some problems with the service. First is the lag time, due to the restrictions of some of the services they connect to, sometimes your feed is twenty minutes behind your original posts/updates. Though this is no fault of their own, but nonetheless something users will not be excited over.

But more importantly friendfeed doesn’t have a concept of context. This would be my number one complaint that they’re not approaching web 3.0 yet. My most likely favorite site (well second to twitter), which will be reviewed next week, does a great job of understanding you and your context. When it recommends something it’s doing based on your history and it’s knowledge of you, and its often right. Indeed grouping messages together does have value, but until it can show me the messages I want to see and hide the ones I do not I won’t be amazed.

Whether or not you should be on it strictly depends on your involvement in web 2.0 sites. If you’re on more than 5 of the sites listed in their 35, it may be a worthwhile investment. While it won’t make the noise quiet, it will likely reduce it by 10-20%, which is better than nothing.

Other sites to watch out for (if they ever release): socialthing

For those interested, my friendfeed