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Net Adresses In Short Supply

January 22, 2011

Vint Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the web, said that the world will soon run out of Internet addresses, blaming himself for the coming shortfall of the some 4.3 billion addresses, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Friday.

“I thought it was an experiment and I thought that 4.3 billion would be enough to do an experiment,” Cerf, who is Google’s vice president and “Chief Internet Evangelist,” was quoted as saying in an interview with the Australian news source.

“Who the hell knew how much address space we needed?” he asked.

In 1977, Cerf created the web protocol IPv4, which connects computers globally, as part of an experiment while working with the US Department of Defense. He said he never thought the experiment would turn into what it is today.

“It doesn’t mean the network stops, it just means you can’t build it very well,” he said.

Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are the unique set of numbers assigned to each computer, website or other internet-connected devices. They are not the same as web domain names.

To resolve the address crisis, which is quickly running dry, an updated protocol for the Internet is currently in the works by the industry. IPv6, the new protocol, will create trillions of addresses.

Cerf, who was in Australia to address the conference, said he thought the new CEO of Google, Larry Page, was ready to lead the company into the future.

In a surprise move, Google said on Thursday that co-founder Page would replace Eric Schmidt as CEO in April.

Schmidt, however, will remain with Google as executive chairman, according to the Internet giant. He will also act as an advisor to Page, who previously served as CEO from 1998 to 2001.

Cerf said Schmidt had been chief executive for 10 years, and now Page was ready to lead the company into the future.

Google has grown over the past decade from a start-up battling other Internet search engines into a technology giant with nearly 25,000 employees and annual revenue of nearly $30 billion.

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