News24

Google to open research institute

2011-07-12 09:33

Berlin - Berlin's oldest university said on Monday it is partnering with Google and three German institutions to start a research institute.

Humboldt University said the Independent Research Institute for Internet and Society would open in late October 2011 and examine the evolution of the internet and its impact on society, science, politics and the economy.

The institute will focus on innovation, internet and media policy, philosophy and constitutional rights, the university said.

Google will fund the institute with €4.5m ($6.41m) for the first three years. After that, the group is looking for other sponsors.

The Berlin University of Arts, the Social Science Research Centre Berlin and the Hamburg Hans-Bredow-Institute are also involved in the project.

Humboldt University said that while the institute would be financed by Google, it would be independent in its scientific research and organisation - something also emphasised by Google chair Eric Schmidt.

"It is great that we managed to get these four relevant organisations on board," Schmidt was quoted as saying in the statement. "The new institute will be completely independent from Google; that is very important."

Google clashed with the German government over its launch of Street View mapping over data privacy issues and was forced to tweak some of its services to satisfy strict regulations.

Street View went online after a long battle with authorities who insisted that citizens had the right to have images of their properties blurred.