Earlier today, rumors started to appear that FriendFeed had been acquired by Facebook. We now have confirmation that this is indeed true. Neither Facebook nor FriendFeed released any exact details about the acquisition, but we'll keep this story updated as we learn more details about this acquisition. According to a post by Bret Taylor on the FriendFeed blog, FriendFeed will continue to operate normally for the time being while the two companies figure out the long-term plans.

The Wall St. Journal says the price was about $50m, $15m in cash and the rest in Facebook stock.

Facebook had continually copied parts of FriendFeed's feature set, including the 'like' feature and Facebook's new focus on the real-time stream. Still, this acquisition took us by surprise. After all, while FriendFeed has been lingering in terms of users adoption, Facebook has been growing rapidly and doesn't really need FriendFeed's user base to continue this growth.

On the technical side, however, FriendFeed has a lot of expertise, especially when it comes to aggregation and real-time updates. Given that Facebook is also moving in this direction, this move does indeed make a lot of sense, as Facebook gains access to FriendFeed's talent pool.

FriendFeed's employees and founders will join Facebook.

What Will Happen to FriendFeed?

The question now, of course, is what will actually happen to FriendFeed. Will it continue as a separate service or will it be rolled into the Facebook ecosystem? For now, the two will operate as separate entities, but in the long run, chances are that Facebook will try to roll more of FriendFeed's services into its own offerings.

FriendFeed's API will also continue to operate normally.

FriendFeed's Users: Mostly Unhappy

The first reactions from FriendFeed's users have been relatively negative, as users are worried about what will happen to the service once it becomes more tightly integrated with Facebook. In an interview with Rober Scoble, FriendFeed's Paul Buchheit stressed that the company will not just abandon its users, though he didn't go into the company's exact plans.

Here is a copy of Facebook's press release:

Facebook Agrees to Acquire Sharing Service FriendFeed

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- August 10, 2009 -- Facebook today announced that it has agreed to acquire FriendFeed, the innovative service for sharing online. As part of the agreement, all FriendFeed employees will join Facebook and FriendFeed's four founders will hold senior roles on Facebook's engineering and product teams.

"Facebook and FriendFeed share a common vision of giving people tools to share and connect with their friends," said Bret Taylor, a FriendFeed co-founder and, previously, the group product manager who launched Google Maps. "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."

"As we spent time with Mark and his leadership team, we were impressed by the open, creative culture they've built and their desire to have us contribute to it," said Paul Buchheit, another FriendFeed co-founders. Buchheit, the Google engineer behind Gmail and the originator of Google's "Don't be evil" motto, added, "It was immediately obvious to us how passionate Facebook's engineers are about creating simple, ground-breaking ways for people to share, and we are extremely excited to join such a like-minded group."

Taylor and Buchheit founded FriendFeed along with Jim Norris and Sanjeev Singh in October 2007 after all four played key roles at Google for products like Gmail and Google Maps. At FriendFeed, they've brought together a world-class team of engineers and designers.

"Since I first tried FriendFeed, I've admired their team for creating such a simple and elegant service for people to share information," said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. "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."

FriendFeed is based in Mountain View, Calif. and has 12 employees. FriendFeed.com will continue to operate normally for the time being as the teams determine the longer term plans for the product.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not released.