Four software designers who were instrumental in the creation of Google’s popular email and mapping services have founded a new company with the intent of making it easy for people to find out what Web material their friends are enjoying. The company, FriendFeed, is the brainchild of Bret Taylor and Jim Norris, two of the programmers who built Google Maps. Several months ago, the two men, both Stanford-trained computer scientists, teamed with Paul Buchheit and Sanjeev Singh, who were members of the original Gmail software design team.
Paul Buchheit (left), Bret Taylor (centre) and Jim Norris
FriendFeed users can see what their friends are reading, listening to or viewing on the Web as a continuous stream of notifications. This stream can appear on a personal Web page or in a module on the user’s customized page on Facebook or Google. The system does not require the installation of software, but it does require the friends to participate. The system can track people’s activities on a variety of websites, ranging from collaborative news filtering sites like Digg and Slashdot to music services like Last.fm and video and photo services like YouTube and Flickr. FriendFeed now supports 23 Web services, and also permits users to comment on postings.
© 2007/THE NEW YORK TIMES