A Google-funded institute in Berlin to study the internet is starting to take shape and Google has announced that it would invest €4.5 million ($6.3 million) in the project. The Berlin internet institute is scheduled to launch in October.
The money is supposed to fund the institute for at least three years. It is being created in partnership with four German research institutes, including Berlin’s Humboldt University, and will launch in October. The Institute for Internet and Society will initially be located at Humboldt’s law faculty and employ about 10 people. Its purpose will not be to study issues specifically related to Google, but rather to explore web innovations and their impact on users as well as regulation and copyright issues.
The researchers want to launch something called “Regulation Watch,” which would compare internet regulations on a country-by-country basis. They also want to explore the consequences of internet censorship in countries such as China, which has created controversies for companies like Google.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has been a key proponent of the initiative since its announcement in February, although some have suggested it is a somewhat cynical move to win over sceptical German public and politicians.