As interesting as the “Internet of things” trend may be, the buzzword has been a bit overused in recent times, often covering a hype-ridden collection of half-baked predictions and musings of where society is heading.

However, the notion that all “things” will eventually be “connected” is becoming a reality, with Internet-enabled thermostats, smoke alarms, and even kettles edging deeper into our everyday lives.

But if the underlying promise of the Internet of things is to reach its potential, the shift will rely on an adherence to open standards, with developers and technologists ensuring their work is open to others to build upon.

“Open Web of Things”

With that in mind, Google is setting up an open innovation and research program to formalize and push forward much of the research, standards, security, systems, and more that will feed into this “connected society.”

“We plan to bring together a community of academics, Google experts, and potentially other parties to pursue an open and shared mission in this area,” said Google, in a post co-penned by famed computer scientist Vint Cerf, who is Chief Internet Evangelist at the Internet giant.

Long before Tim Berners-Lee built the World Wide Web, Cerf was instrumental in laying the foundation of the modern-day Internet. In 1969, one of Cerf’s early projects culminated in the first message being sent from computer-to-computer on the ARPANET, a predecessor to the Internet.

Kicking off the new “Open Web of Things” program, Google is inviting research proposals from academics interested in embarking on a “cross­disciplinary expedition intended to address the complex challenges and opportunities before us as we explore the next generation of systems, services and Internet­connected devices.”

More specifically, Google wants proposals that address things like user interface and application development, privacy and security, and systems and protocols.

A number of grants will be made available, but the core underlying requirement is one of “open innovation.”

The submission deadline is January 21, 2015, with successful proposals expected to be filtered out by spring. In addition to providing financial support, Google said it will serve up access to many of its own technologies to help with the research, including hardware, software, and other related systems.

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