Can FriendFeed Compete With Newsfeed?

FriendfeedOne of the big news items today is Friendfeed receiving a $5 million round of funding and their public launch. There has been a significant amount of discussion surrounding FriendFeed and whether or not it can compete with Facebook. Eric Eldon accurately sums up the current differentiation between the two feeds:

The Facebook news feed is already chock-full of your friends activities on Facebook, like when they add a new friend, break up with their girl/boyfriend, or decide to attend an event. This is information about your friends’ lives. FriendFeed, in contrast is purely about the online media you and your friends think is most interesting.

For the moment, this differentiation exists but I would argue not for long. One of Facebook’s primary values is its highly optimized newsfeed. If a competitor can take a portion of Facebook’s market share, the long-term effect is a less accurate image of an individual’s social graph. This is why Facebook is going to open up their newsfeed to compete directly with FriendFeed as Mike Arrington suggested.

While I argued that the “opening of the newsfeed” was in fact most likely the public launch of Beacon, the implications are still the same. As soon as Facebook enables the tracking of user activity on external sites, FriendFeed will prove less useful. Why am I going to go add all of my friends on FriendFeed yet again? Eric Eldon suggests that FriendFeed differentiates itself by only tracking those friends that you care about. I argue that Facebook can resolve that issue with a more effective newsfeed algorithm.

Do you think FriendFeed can compete with Facebook?