To me, FriendFeed is already a big thing, and after less than 48 hours on the site it has a permanent bookmark on my Firefox Bookmark Toolbar thanks to Louis Gray’s article about FriendFeed opening up and an invite from Gray to try out the service.
WHAT IS FRIENDFEED?
FriendFeed enables you to keep up-to-date on the web pages, photos, videos and music that your friends and family are sharing. It offers a unique way to discover and discuss information among friends.
Sign up for FriendFeed, invite some friends, and get a customized feed made up of the content that your friends shared — from news articles to family photos to interesting links and videos. FriendFeed automatically imports shared stuff from sites across the web, so if your friend favorites a video on YouTube, you get a link and a thumbnail of the video in your feed. And if your friend likes a news story on Digg, you get a link in your feed. FriendFeed makes all the sites you already use a little more social.
It’s also fast and easy to start discussions around shared items. On FriendFeed, you and your friends contribute to a shared stream of information — information that you care about, because it’s from the people that you care about.
Yeah I copy and pasted from the website. Who better to explain a service than the developers themselves? =P
Nevertheless, FriendFeed is a social network aggregator. Other services that you can pull information from and share include twitter, your linkblog, your website’s RSS, GoogleTalk (for status updates), del.icio.us, ma.gnolia, flickr, picasa, vimeo, netflix, jaiku, last.fm, pownce, reddit, tumblr, zooomr, ilike, amazon, and a few more.
WHY IS FRIENDFEED THE NEXT BIG THING?
Ah yes! Why is it indeed. Well, aside from the fact that most of the major tech bloggers are on it (Louis Gray, Robert Scoble, Chris Brogan, Marshall Kirkpatrick…hmm these sound more like my favorite bloggers), the aggregation of the aforementioned services is awesomesauce! FriendFeed does it’s job and does it exceptionally! The organization of each aggregated service is incredibly implemented. My only request would be for better visual separation of each item. Sometimes it can get hard to follow everything and I have to reread some items. Each item shared is displayed quickly when signing up (no waiting yay!) and this quick process continues with each new item that you create or share. Another cool sharing feature is the ability share links to things that aren’t pulled from any of your services.
FriendFeed has some great social aspects. The comments and rating system is superb and really helps everyone that you subscribe to connect with one another. Another great feature is the recommendations of ‘friends of friends’. I think this is a fantastic way to get others out there and help build upon your social network in FriendFeed and the other services. To me, this is important because most services are letting you build upon your network, but only within that network. FriendFeed allows for portability and networking outside of itself. I’m absolutely in love with this connection and it’s the only service (thus far) that I’ve seen accomplish this and do it well.
Head to the ‘friend settings’ tab and you’ll see options for your subscriptions, your subscribers, imaginary friends, more recommendations, stats, and a link to both find and invite more friends.
The imaginary friend feature is a way for you to keep track of friends that aren’t on FriendFeed or who might refuse to join.
You can keep track of your friends that don’t use FriendFeed by creating “imaginary friends.” For example, if you know your friend’s Flickr username, you can create an imaginary friend with that Flickr account, and you will get notified every time your friend publishes a photo.
This is a great feature that every present (and future) aggregation service should implement! Some services simply do not catch on as quickly as others, and if you have friends that aren’t that into ‘the next big thing’ until it’s just that big, then it could take a while.
As for the recommendations tab: “The people below are popular among your friends, and you might find their feeds interesting.” So you get to see who’s who among your subscriptions. I don’t find the stats page too exciting simply because I’m not a stats person (Math was never my thing). Nevertheless:
The statistics below come from the last 30 days of activity on FriendFeed. “People you find interesting” are calculated by looking at the entries you have commented on and liked. Top sites are calculated by looking at where your shared stuff has come from over the past 30 days.
The signup process was easy, quick, and also displayed it’s powerful recommendation feature!I can’t wait to see it catch on and I look forward to seeing what the developers implement next!
FriendFeed is one of the few services I’ve seen released in the past year that went public after it got MOST of it’s features correctly implemented. I feel like the service is as complete as it can get with feedback from a minimum amount of users, though it has improved greatly since it’s inception because of all the feedback it’s received from those that beta tested the service. This is a great downfall of other services that I’ve tried such as Fav.or.it (more on my anger for that service later). Releasing incomplete products, in beta or otherwise,is a great way to lose my attention.
Social aggregation is definitely a ‘next big hit’ and FriendFeed is definitely at the forefront of it! It’s new! it’s fresh, exciting, and does everything it’s supposed to do very well! If you’re on FriendFeed, please share your thoughts or alternative recommendations and don’t hesitate to subscribe to me if you’d like.