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

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

Cerf has resigned as senior vice president of technology strategy at MCI and will join Google officially on 3 October.

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 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."

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 is co-designer of the TCP/IP protocols, the Internet's core architecture, and will continue as chairman of ICANN. He will also continue working on the Interplanetary Network, a NASA project whose goal is to extend the Internet into outer space for interplanetary communications.