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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Google Hires the Net-Dad as Internet Evangelist

Posted by @ 12:27 am

Vint Cerf – widely considered the father of the Internet – has joined Google as “Chief Internet Evangelist“. Cerf was one of the designers of the TCP/IP protocol that form the very basis of the underlying architecture of the Internet.

CEO Eric Schmidt on Cert joining Google:

“His vision for technology has helped create entire industries that have transformed many parts of our lives….but we’re still in the Internet’s early innings. This medium will enjoy wider spread use than television, radio or phones and ultimately expand beyond planet Earth. Google has always believed in doing things differently.”

According to the Google press release, Cerf will be responsible for assisting Google to build a network infrastructure, architecture, systems and standards for the next generation of Internet applications.

But is that really an evangelist role? Does the Internet really need evangelising any more?

In previous companies where I have worked, any one with the job title of “Evangelist” was given the task of converting people to a particular thinking or methodology. For example, I worked with a Microsoft .NET evangelist back in 2000, whose role was to “preach the .NET word” to a number of colleges in the territory I managed. The aim was to get the colleges supporting .NET and teaching their students. The ultimate aim was to sell more software.

With Cert as Chief Internet Evangelist there has to be a bigger objective for Google. I am not sure what it is, other than possibly expanding the Internet reach from traditional devices (computers, PDAs, cell phones etc) to more mainstream appliances (such as televisions, iPods and perhaps even the car). This could open up a new revenue stream for Google and the other search engines.

Despite the few hundred PhDs already hanging on the walls at Google, there is arguably no more impressive name in the Internet world than Vint Cerf. He brings an immense level of credibility, experience and age to a company that prides itself on hiring brilliant young geeks.

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