Google is funding a major Internet research institute expected to open in late October in Berlin.
The project, which involves a partnership between Google, the Humboldt University, the Berlin University of Arts, the Science Centre Berlin, and the Hamburg Hans Bredow Institute, will be called the Institute for Internet and Society.
The Institute will focus on how the Internet affects changes in society, science, politics and business, an area in which Google, as a dominant internet player, will be particularly interested.
Professors from each unviversity, centre or institute will be the directors of the project, including Ingolf Pernice from Humboldt, Thomas Schildhauer from and Jeanette Hofmann from Berlin, and Wolfgang Schulz from Hamburg.
Google will invest €4.5 million for the first three years, after which point the Institute will look for other partners and investors. It's likely Google will continue to pump money in after this point if the research proves successful, by which we probably mean profitable.
Despite Google's significant funding, the Institute will remain autonomous, which means it is free to research in whatever direction it wants without Google attempting to influence any projects or decisions.
The launch in October will involve an international research conference.