Friendfeed's Bret Taylor talks XMPP on Gillmor Gang

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Friendfeed co-founder Bret Taylor joined the Gillmor Gang this afternoon to discuss Friendfeed’s XMPP stream of its Home and Friends List feeds. I sat with Taylor at the Friendfeed offices and Marc Canter joined intermittently by phone. Canter took the opportunity to vent about Friendfeed’s responsibility to exert leadership in the XMPP space before his line unexpectedly went dead.

The video below joins the conversation just before that point, and continues with discussion of Friendfeed’s new direction and role with the release of the realtime technologies. While Taylor acknowledged the possible threat to some companies (read Twitter) of providing access to the full firehose of data, he indicated building confidence in allowing businesses on top of the Friendfeed APIs was more valuable for Friendfeed.

Taylor confirmed that Friendfeed in fact does have access to Twitter’s full firehose stream, but that they were only using the stream to serve Friendfeed subscribers and had had no discussions with Twitter about second sourcing the stream for third party developers to add Track functionality. He again confirmed Track was coming to Friendfeed, to mine the full stream of content and not just the individual subscribed clouds of users.

With Friendfeed now supporting bridging to Twitter via IM and realtime interfaces from third parties, it is the logical candidate for being at the head of the chain of messages flowing across the micromessaging universe. Taylor said he was in discussions to add bridging to and other Laconica servers, adding that the similarity of the APIs to Twitter’s made it doable in the near future. Friendfeed’s aggressive step into a leadership role via the realtime tools is paying dividends for the small startup.

  • Allan

    If this economic downturn causes companies to seek M&A options in order to survive, could we see a combination of Twitter and FriendFeed?

    • Andy

      Friendfeed is running full steam ahead technology, innovation, and feature-wise, twitter appears to be out of steam in those areas. As long as twitter doesn’t become an albatross around ff’s neck, it could work.

      Since friendfeed is a superset of twitter, if ff were to merge with twitter, the entire twitter staff, and much of the technology, would be redundant.

  • Rob Spectre

    I really don’t understand what the hell Mark was talking about. In the babbling that preceded what may have eventually evolved into a question, Mark mentioned that he technically “knew enough to be dangerous.” I think before the call dropped off that assertion was revealed to be charitable.

    XMPP is no more fundamentally engineered to be a “real-time” protocol than HTTP. The lionshare of Jabber traffic is redundant presence overhead just as the lionshare of web traffic is connection setup and acknowledgement. The capability of either to satisfy a user need in real-time is dependent completely on its implementation.

    A protocol is not a product, and FriendFeed is a product company. Their continued attention to their products will produce effective software. Peeling that attention away to work on a protocol might produce effective standards.

    But which do you think will satisfy more users or build a stronger company?

    • Mason Lee

      Hi Rob. Agree with you about “products” being king, but not sure what you mean about XMPP not being more fundamentally “real-time” than HTTP.

      True, XMPP does send a lot of presence info, but if there’s a lot of “real time” data aside from that, the presence overhead will be relatively small vs. having to make a new HTTP request for each bit of new data. Even long-polling HTTP requires a new HTTP request be made for each bit of data.

      Steve, Brett. Love the conversation.


  • links for 2008-11-11 « 個人的な雑記

    […] Friendfeed’s Bret Taylor talks XMPP on Gillmor Gang (tags: friendfeed XMPP) […]

  • Marc’s Voice » Blog Archive » Euphoria subsiding, now its down to business

    […] I’m bummed Brett and Steve didn’t hear me start singing Funkadelics, but I was going off… Maybe next time. […]

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