Facebook may become social network hub with FriendFeed buy

Facebook agrees to acquire feed aggregator founded by ex-Google managers

Facebook Inc. may be looking to become a social networking hub with its move to acquire real-time feed aggregator FriendFeed.

Facebook announced this afternoon that it has agreed to buy FriendFeed for an undisclosed amount of money.

Mountain View, Calif.-based FriendFeed's 12 employees will move to Facebook's Palo Alto headquarters and will continue to operate the service as usual until the companies decide on a long-term integration plan, they said.

"Since I first tried FriendFeed, I've admired their team for creating such a simple and elegant service for people to share information," said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, in a statement. "As this shows, our culture continues to make Facebook a place where the best engineers come to build things quickly that lots of people will use."

FriendFeed, founded by four former Google Inc. employees in October 2007, offers a service that acts as a social networking aggregator, consolidating updates and posts from Web sites, blogs and microblogs like Twitter.

"This is probably a smart move for Facebook, giving them ownership over a social network aggregator and allowing Facebook to make their site the overall hub for social networking," said Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group Inc. "Assuming that Facebook can establish itself as a social networking hub for its users, this offers Facebook several advantages. The first is that it will keep users on Facebook pages longer, which means greater exposure for Facebook advertisers and higher ad rates. The stickier Facebook can become for users, the more revenue they can make from their advertising."

Facebook, which is relying heavily on venture capital and little on earned income, isn't averse to making big purchases.

Earlier this year, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone confirmed that Facebook had looked to buy his company last fall.

Elizabeth Montalbano of the IDG News Service contributed to this story.

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