Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Facebook buys FriendFeed

Facebook, the world's largest social networking site, said it will buy FriendFeed, netting a group of prized ex-Google engineers in the fast-growing Internet business.

FriendFeed, an up-and-coming social media startup, lets people share content online in real time across various social networks and blogs.

The service is similar to, though less popular than Twitter, the microblogging site that Facebook tried to buy for $500 million (£303 million) in 2008, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed on Monday, but Facebook said FriendFeed would operate as it has for the time being as the teams determine long-term plans.

Facebook's big gain in the acquisition is the engineering talent at FriendFeed, rather than the actual product, which has won critical praise, but lagged in popularity compared to Twitter, said Forrester Research analyst Jeremiah Owyang.

"These guys know how to build scalable, social applications," said Owyang.

In a statement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he admired the FriendFeed team for having created a service he described as simple and elegant.

"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," said Zuckerberg.

FriendFeed's four founders are former Google Inc employees who count well known products like Gmail and Google Maps among their accomplishments.

Facebook said the founders will hold senior roles on its engineering and product teams.

FriendFeed had talked with Facebook "casually" for a couple of months, and that it became clear that the teams were "cut from the same cloths," FriendFeed co-founder Bret Taylor told Reuters in an interview.

He declined to say whether FriendFeed had been in talks with other companies.

One bridge between Facebook and FriendFeed might have been Matt Cohler, Facebook's former management vice president. He joined FriendFeed backer Benchmark Capital last year.

Asked what role the connection played in the deal, FriendFeed's Taylor said the decision to be acquired by Facebook was made entirely by the team at FriendFeed.

Facebook has more than 250 million registered users. In May, the social networking company announced a $200 million (£121 million) investment from Russian investor Digital Sky Technologies that pegged the value of its preferred shares at $10 billion (£6 billion).

Facebook has said its revenue is on track to rise 70 percent this year, and board member Mark Andreessen has said the company will bring in more than $500 million (£303 million) in revenue in 2009.

But Forrester's Owyang said that Facebook must make the content generated within the site more accessible to the public instead of only to closed networks of Facebook friends, so that the company can sell more ads.

Earlier this year, Facebook announced changes to its privacy controls to allow people to make their status messages and posts viewable to a broader Internet audience.

(From Reuters)

DPA Backs Lagos State On Development Councils, But........(News Release)

The Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA) have cast its vote with Lagos State in its face-off with the Federal Government over the creation of more local governments, although it wrote off the councils for failing to make the desired developmental impact on the polity.

The party believed that the Federal Government over-extended itself in meddling in the matter of council creation as the Constitution gave it no role on the issue, apart from the fact that such interference violated the principle of Federalism.

However, in a statement by its Lagos State Director of Publicity, Felix Oboagwina, the party said: “There is little to show for the huge resources allocated to the councils and there is little on ground to justify the creating of these new Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) six years after they came into being. Inner roads are bad, drainage systems remain untended in many places, while the uniformed local government operatives have become a terror to road users, especially operators of commercial buses and okada motorcycles. Some councils even have pothole-ridden roads passing through their frontage.”

DPA acknowledged the right of Lagos State to create new local governments under the operating Federal Constitution, and said it believed the government of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had substantially complied with the necessary requirements for their formation.

However, according to the party, instead of fulfilling their primary raison d’etre, many of the councils had become bastions of corruption, mismanagement and inefficiency.

In the words of DPA: “Which of these LCDAs can boast of bringing development closer to their people as they were meant to do? Which of them can point to streets they have erected street lights on?”

DPA challenged the Lagos State House of Assembly to publish past report of probes on corruption and misappropriation of funds in the local governments, including during the tenure of ad hoc supervisory administrative secretaries.

Accusing the state government and the House of lacking the political will to carry out a full-fledged investigation of local governments’ fiscal allocations, disbursements and transactions from 1999 to date, DPA recalled that nothing was heard after the Lagos State House of Assembly’s Committee on Public Accounts (Local) recommended the suspension of five Local Government Executive Secretaries over the mismanagement of N700 million council funds since November 2007.

"Of course, the report is predictable if the House ever bothers to release it. It will be heavily doctored to unduly exonerate council operatives of wrongdoing, as has become the Action Congress (AC) style to clear members of its family of even clear-cut charges,” the party said.

The party accused the AC government of not only sweeping corruption in the councils under the carpet, but as well refusing to forward them to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“AC in fact returned many of these perfidious chairmen to the councils as candidates in the last election despite widespread protests –as if to reward them for their past acts of corruption. In fact, we believe that the reason AC massively rigged the last council elections was to keep opposition parties out of the councils so as to keep secret the mismanagement of allocations,” he said.

DPA urged Lagosians to look beyond the politics of council creation and insist on service delivery by the 57 councils.

Director of Publicity, Lagos DPA

USA Secretary Of State Arrives Nigeria Today

United States Of America(USA) Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton will arrive Nigeria any moment from now in the last leg of her official tour of African countries. Mrs. Clinton on arrival, according to unconfirmed information available to chidi opara reports, will meet with the Nigerian President, Mr. Umaru Yar'Adua. She will be hosted by the Nigerian foreign minister, Mr. Ojo Maduekwe in his Abuja residence tomorrow, after meeting with some interest groups, including the civil rights community.

Our network members in Abuja reported discreet takeover of strategic locations in the Nigerian capital city by security operatives from Washington as early as 5.00am today(Nigerian time).

chidi opara reports have earlier reported that Nigerian activists of various persuasions are set to embarass the Umaru Yar'Adua administration during the visit. We also reported that the Nigerian Presidency have put in place measures to prevent any attempts to embarass the government during Mrs. Clinton's visit.

Reports from our network members in Abuja indicate an atmosphere of calm arround the city, with people going about their normal businesses, "although there is a slightly tensed atmosphere at the airport, the presidential villa and the national assembly complex", a network member reported.