Inside Facebook reported yesterday that Facebook has bought Parakey, an Internet startup founded by Blake Ross and Joe Hewitt, developers of Mozilla Firefox. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
From the press release:
“Blake and Joe built the Firefox web browser and then turned to the developer community to build on top of the foundation they’d established, not unlike what we’ve done with Facebook Platform,” said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. “The work they’ve done with Firefox and Parakey and their approach to building products fit right in at Facebook.”
Parakey has been kept under wraps for two years, but it appears to be an online document manager of sorts — it’s described as “a platform bridging the gap between information on the web and desktop.” According to what Ross told IEEE Spectrum last year, it synchronizes documents and files from online and one’s home computer.
What’s interesting to note here is that the press release further states that “Ross and Hewitt will join Facebook’s team to work on the development of Facebook Platform and the company’s website.” Facebook has made a huge overhaul to its site ever since it introduced the F8 platform, but now it appears more and more that Facebook isn’t just content with expanding its platform — in fact, many think Facebook is aiming to become an online OS, or as Read/WriteWeb notes, “the operating system period.”
Michael Arrington at TechCrunch agrees and says Facebook’s approach is to become the number one destination on the Internet for content and interaction. Google too has long shifted gears from being a mere search engine company and into yet another destination site for users by providing a number of useful applications like Gmail, Google Docs, Google Maps, and iGoogle. However, the difference, Arrington points out, is this:
The difference with Facebook will be how the various applications are glued together, and this is where Facebook already has the advantage: Facebook’s origins as a social networking site means that everything they launch is linked in to that central one. Google has great products, but very little to tie them all together. People use Gmail or Reader as stand alone offerings, by comparison everything in Facebook is interlinked.