Eric Schmidt’s 13 year tenure as CEO of Google was hugely successful. He managed to control and direct the boundless engineering energy of a once youthful exuberant Google. He calmed early efforts to create a web browser and operating system and instead managed to trounce Microsoft’s share of the search market whilst successfully diversifying Google’s operations with YouTube and Android phones. With that in mind and sales now approaching $30bn I think Eric Schmidt can reflect on a job well done.

But that’s now history and with Larry Page installed as CEO Google will surely try and bring back to life that innovative edge which previously singled them out. Copyright, privacy and size issues have seen Google’s ‘Don’t Be Evil’ mantra tainted recently. So with huge battles against Facebook and Apple in social media and smart phones it is no surprise that Google have turned to one of its inspirational founders to lead the fight.

So – Who will triumph in the battle of Google and Facebook? I have been debating this for 3 months with my team and the argument is not as one sided as it once was. Google certainly have superior financial firepower – but since when did that mean anything on the web? And with Facebook getting its financial ducks in a row (see our Facebook ownership blog for more details ) with some powerful allies this is no longer a David and Goliath scenario.

Google’s attempts with Buzz to enter social media have not been effective. So can Facebook crack search? Google’s search algorithm is far from perfect and the market is ripe for a hybrid of search and social. If that’s where we are heading then my money is on Facebook. The rest of my team are equally divided. One things for sure – it’s going to be an interesting battle and we will all benefit from the innovation it will inspire.

What’s your opinion?