Facebook has acquired friend.ly, creator of a question and answer application for getting to know other people on the social network.

A spokesperson for Facebook told us via email:

We’re excited to announce that we recently acquired friend.ly, a Silicon Valley startup that created a really compelling way for people to express themselves and meet others through answering questions. We’ve admired the team’s efforts for some time now, and we’re looking forward to having [them] make a big impact on the way millions of people connect and engage with each other on Facebook.

Question-and-answer applications on Facebook have waxed and waned in popularity, with the most recent peak for the category occurring a couple of weeks ago; friend.ly’s own user base has tapered off its growth, at least compared to the competition.

According to our own AppData, friend.ly has 10,077 daily active users, down from an all-time high of over 1.6 million, and 291,590 monthly active users, compared to an all-time high of over 6.9 million.

By contrast, 21 Questions has 665,399 daily active users, down from a high of nearly 5.5 million, and over 28.7 monthly active users, down from a high of more than 32.9 million.

Facebook had relaunched its own Questions application this March, although the tool is more focused on creating one-off polls than on encouraging people to get to know one another.

For the social network to acquire something already provided by numerous third party developers and that isn’t the leader in the category suggests that perhaps Facebook might want to use friend.ly’s capabilities not just to enhance the native Questions application but to encourage users to populate their profiles, especially with the impending beta launch of timeline.

Here’s what friend.ly (one of those companies that insists its name doesn’t take an initial capital letter) said about the deal on the company’s official blog:

Two years ago, we started friend.ly to enhance your social networking experience by creating a fun, easy way to express yourself and meet new people by answering questions.

Since then, we’ve seen you compliment each other, ask poignant questions, and tell the world more about the “real” you. The you who could survive with only a copy of Atlas Shrugged on a desert island. The you who has memorized every word of every episode of Dexter. And the you who yearns to meet more people who also love tennis, find ice cream to be therapeutic, and think existentialism is fascinating.

All of you have answered millions of questions, and today we’d like to answer the following question for you: “What’s next for friend.ly?”

Our answer: friend.ly has been acquired by Facebook.

We’re excited about this because we feel the spirit of friend.ly aligns well with Facebook’s vision, and we’re thrilled to be joining such an innovative company. The friend.ly team will be focusing on new projects at Facebook, but friend.ly will continue to operate as a separate service.

We want to thank you – from the bottom of our hearts – for sharing your hopes, your memories and your humor with the friend.ly community. Thank you for your unwavering support of our product and your dedication to helping us make it better. Thank you also to our investors and advisors for your invaluable advice and your faith in our team and ideas.

Best wishes,

The friend.ly Team

Readers, what do you think about the news that Facebook has acquired friend.ly?