Google wants you to design the Internet of Things

Impatient for the Internet of Things, Google is providing seed money for reseraching new technologies

Have an idea for how the much-anticipated Internet of Things should operate? If the idea is good enough, Google may pay you to see it to fruition.

As part of a new effort to generate more Internet of Things technologies, Google is planning to issue a number of grants to facilitate pioneering research in this nascent field of computing.

"While the Internet of Things (IoT) conjures a vision of 'anytime, any place' connectivity for all things, the realization is complex given the need to work across interconnected and heterogeneous systems, and the special considerations needed for security, privacy, and safety," co-wrote Google chief Internet evangelist Vint Cerf, in a blog post announcing the research program.

The "Internet of Things" is technical shorthand describing what is expected to be a mass wave of portable devices and sensors that will gather information and send it over the Internet for purposes of analysis and monitoring. Over 50 billion things will be connected to the Internet by 2020, Cisco has estimated.

Google plans to issue two sets of awards, both meant to fuel work to be carried out over a year.

One set of grants will be for larger team projects that Google will pay between $500,000 and $800,000 to see completed. Google expects that the work could be undertaken either by an academician leading a team of researchers or by a graduate student "willing to dedicate a substantial portion of their research time to this expedition," according to Google's request for proposals document.

A smaller set of grants, ranging from $50,000 to $150,000, will also be given out. For these grants, Google is looking for "new and unorthodox solutions" in user interface and application development, in privacy and security, and in systems and protocols research, according to the blog post.

Google itself continue to research IoT technologies as well, it said. In particular, it plans to expand IoT capabilities in products such as the Android mobile operating system, the Chrome browser, the Google Cloud Platform, and the Nest home connectivity service.

Submissions are due Jan. 21 and Google will announce the projects it selects within the following months.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is

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