Facebook v Google for web control
Mark Zuckerberg will soon hit the ripe old age of 26. And despite his youth, he clearly possesses no fear as he sets his company's sights on trying to wrest control of the internet from the search giant Google.
Over the last 10 years, Google's efforts at being the window to the web for hundreds of millions of users across the globe has turned it into a billion dollar company and of course a verb.
Now the six-year-old social networking giant is making a bid for the crown.
At its developer conference in San Francisco called F8, Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg arrived on stage in the typical Silicon Valley dressed down uniform of jeans and a black hoodie.
He came across as pretty awkward in front of an audience of 1,500. Then again most people would.
Regardless of that he pulled no punches in setting out his stall for the foreseeable future - a major, if not dominant, role in the future of the web which he said will be all about being social and using your friends to share and connect to a better quality of information which in turn will provide users with a better web experience.
In a blogpost he said "people are increasingly discovering information not just through links to web pages but also from the people and things they care about".
During his keynote speech, Mr Zuckerberg announced a number of products to aide and abet that approach.
They included an open graph protocol which lets partner sites leverage the user's social connections to make the site more relevant to the individual and their social network.
Then there is the "Like" button to let users rate that content by simply indicating they like something and letting their friends see that selection.
Proof of the power of this tool will soon be provided given that Mr Zuckerberg said that he reckoned one billion "Likes" will be served up in 24 hours.
Justin Smith ofInside Facebook told me he saw this as a win-win for businesses and Facebook.
"This will increase engagement and also make the type of information more interesting and therefore allow Facebook to grow and other publishers to increase engagement."
Facebook's plan "is really profound for us," said Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora, an internet music streaming site that has more than 50m users, many of whom also use Facebook.
"Pandora is not all that human, there is no DJ, there is no voice in Pandora. This is going to put a face on it."
At the moment Facebook has over 400m users, but a survey by Comscore said it is hurtling towards the 500m figure at something approaching breakneck speed.
As Google focuses on making all the world's information accessible and searchable and doing it better and faster than anyone else, Facebook clearly believes friends are the best way to find the most relevant information.
"In the past the web has been defined by hyperlinks linking to static content," said Bret Taylor, head of Facebook Platform products. "We think social linking will have as big an impact on the web as hyperlinking did."
"Facebook wants to be the starting point for your world - the new e-mail inbox," Jeremiah Owyang, an internet analyst with the Altimeter Group, wrote on his blog.
"If they turn on advanced search tools, this can threaten Google.com. All this social aggregated content will yield a powerful database of what you and your friends like, the precursor to customized web experiences and social advertising."
Make no mistake this is about Facebook taking on the might of Google, Om Malik of the tech site GigaOM told me.
"The thing is Google understands data very well, it doesn't understand people. I don't think that is a problem for Facebook who understand them almost too well. The Google web is about looking for things and the Facebook web is about serendipity."
In closing his keynote comments, Mr Zuckerberg tried to tell a story about his girlfriend who is at medical school and how the students viewed their professional duty to help sick people.
The story was hard to follow but the punch-line was easy to grasp and really expressed a lofty vision for the power of the web.
"There is an old saying that when you go to heaven all your friends are there and everything is the way you want it to be. Well together, let's make a world that good," urged Mr Zuckerberg.