Google is going back to school.
Plans emerged Monday for the search engine's "Internet research institute," which will open in October 2011 on the campus of Humboldt University, Berlin's oldest university, in partnership with it and three other German institutions.
The institute will examine the evolution of the Internet and its impact on society, science, politics and the economy, said Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
"It's great that we could win four such important institutions as partners," Schmidt said in a press release issued by Humboldt University. "We are witnessing a new era, the era of the Internet. The institute will help describe the changes that are associated with the development of this breakthrough technology."
Google will fund the institute with $6.41 million per year for the first three years. After that, the group is looking for other sponsors.
"The new institute will be fully independent of Google, which is very important," Schmidt noted.
The Berlin University of Arts, the Social Science Research Center Berlin and the Hamburg Hans-Bredow-Institute are also involved in the project.
"The Internet is an achievement that has had far-reaching changes on the world," said Dr. Jan-Hendrik Olbertz, president of Humboldt. "The 'Institute for Internet and Society at the interfaces will provide legal, political sciences, sociology and cultural studies perspectives on the independent contributions of the Internet."