Google has recruited Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf as its chief Internet evangelist.

Cerf is the co-designer of the TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) protocols used to develop the Internet's core architecture. Despite his new job at Google he will remain as chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Cerf will help Google "build network infrastructure, architectures, systems and standards for the next generation of Internet applications," Google said in a press release.

Cerf has resigned as senior vice president of technology strategy at MCI, effective September 12, and joins Google officially on October 3.

The higher level Internet

Among the motivations for working for Google is his interest in being involved with developing "higher level" Internet applications of the sort Google is creating, as opposed to the work at MCI, which naturally is focused on a telecommunications angle, he said.

"The difference is that at MCI, although we were moving in the direction of value-added applications, we were coming at it from the underlying telecom infrastructure perspective," he said. "In the case of Google, it is already operating well above the IP layer of the Internet."

Cerf, a longtime friend of Google chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt, still doesn't know which projects he will be involved in at Google. His first task upon joining Google will be to spend time not only at the company's headquarters but also in its operations elsewhere "to get a clearer sense of what they currently have on the books and what possibilities might lie ahead," he said. "Part of my job is to uncover new technologies that might be relevant to Google's continuing growth in services and applications."

The genius streak

He is also looking forward to sharing with the Google team what he calls "half-baked ideas" he has, such as different ways for users to interact with Google services, using for example voice, in addition to the conventional point-and-click approach, he said.

"The first thing I'll have to do is explore [these ideas] with the rest of the Google team to see whether or not they merit any further attention," he said. "And I know they have ideas, literally a cornucopia of them, and the problem they have is figuring out which ones to pursue and I hope I can help with that."

Cerf will also continue working on the Interplanetary Network, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) project whose goal is to extend the Internet into outer space for interplanetary communications, Google said.

His biography page in the ICANN's Web site states that Cerf is known as one of the "fathers of the Internet," thanks to the Internet development work he did with partner Robert Kahn.

Cerf worked at MCI from 1982 to 1986 and rejoined the company in 1994, where he stayed until now. Between 1986 and 1994, he worked at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI).

Between 1976 and 1982 he worked with the US Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where he "played a key role leading the development of Internet and Internet-related data packet and security technologies," according to his biography on ICANN's Web site.