Facebook's new companion on its social networking bandwagon is, as the site announced on Monday, FriendFeed. The acquisition is a Silicon Valley startup which allows members to see what their friends are doing online and share content.
Facebook said that the 12 employees of the Mountain View, California-based FriendFeed will join Facebook and its four founders will hold senior roles on Facebook's engineering and product teams.
Facebook said FriendFeed.com "will continue to operate normally for the time being as the teams determine the longer term plans for the product."
Financial details of the purchase were not disclosed.
The acquisition of FriendFeed follows Facebook's failed attempt last year to buy hot microblogging service Twitter.
FriendFeed has been described as a potential rival to Twitter in its ability to conduct real-time search, an area where Facebook has been seeking to expand.
"Facebook and FriendFeed share a common vision of giving people tools to share and connect with their friends," FriendFeed co-founder Bret Taylor said in a statement.
"We can't wait to join the team and bring many of the innovations we've developed at FriendFeed to Facebook's 250 million users around the world," added Taylor, previously the group product manager who launched Google Maps.
Another FriendFeed co-founder, Paul Buchheit, said Facebook's engineers had created "simple, ground-breaking ways for people to share, and we are extremely excited to join such a like-minded group."
Buchheit, another former Google employee, was the engineer behind Gmail and is credited with coining Google's motto of "Don't be evil."
Taylor and Buchheit founded FriendFeed with two other former Google employees, Jim Norris and Sanjeev Singh, in October 2007.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg described FriendFeed as a "simple and elegant service for people to share information."
The purchase, he added, shows that Facebook is "a place where the best engineers come to build things quickly that lots of people will use."
Facebook, based in Palo Alto, California, is the fastest growing social network on the Internet.