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Last Updated: Friday, 9 September 2005, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK
Google snaps up internet pioneer
Vint Cerf
Defining net engineer Vint Cerf will work on strategy
Google has hired one of the founding fathers of the net as its "chief internet evangelist".

Net legend Vint Cerf, who helped to define the way the internet works, will join the search giant on 3 October.

He joins from telecoms firm MCI and will take on a role that will help to shape Google's strategy and the technologies it backs.

Mr Cerf joins a growing roster of big thinkers and pioneering engineers who work at Google.

Now 62, Mr Cerf was involved with the internet even before it existed.

He was part of the network engineering group that oversaw the creation of Arpanet, the net's forerunner.

Building blocks

Once Arpanet was running, he worked on the basic specifications for what we know today as the internet.

He has been called the "father of the internet" for his work with Bob Kahn on the specifications which became the TCP/IP protocol which defines how the net labels and moves packets of data around.

What Google has really been doing is building an entirely new infrastructure and whenever you do that, it creates opportunities for new applications
Vint Cerf
Mr Cerf wrote or contributed to many of the net's early detailed technical documents, known as RFCs (Request for Comments).

Speaking about his new job, Mr Cerf said he had been given an "amazing" title.

"It's chief internet evangelist, which suggests I should go from three-piece suits to some sort of ecclesiastical robes," he said, before going on to describe his actual religion as "geek orthodox".

Despite the title, Mr Cerf is aiming to be more than a figurehead or visionary for the company.

The internet pioneer would be working on new applications and worrying about where the net is going and how to keep it healthy, said Bill Courghan, a vice-president of engineering at Google.

Mr Cerf's salary has not been disclosed.

"What Google has really been doing is building an entirely new infrastructure and whenever you do that, it creates opportunities for new applications," Mr Cerf said.

He will also maintain his position as chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) which oversees the net's addressing system.

In his former post at MCI, Mr Cerf worked on technology strategy and advanced networking technologies.

The move of such an influential figure is significant in that it marks the way that power in the net world has shifted from telecommunications firms, such as MCI, to companies that do something with that infrastructure, such as Google.

At Google Mr Cerf will join other influential engineers such as Louis Monier, Mark Lucovsky and Andy Rubin.

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