Latest in Gear

Image credit: Michael Short/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Google is creating a startup haven to prevent staff from leaving

The Area 120 incubator would let curious Googlers work on new ideas full-time.
55 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Michael Short/Bloomberg via Getty Images

It's hard to swing a stick in Silicon Valley without hitting startups created by ex-Google employees determined to bring their clever (though only sometimes successful) ideas to light. That's good for innovation, but lousy for Google -- and the search giant now appears bent on doing what it can to keep those curious minds in-house. The Information's sources understand that Google is creating Area 120, a startup incubator that would let some employees pursue their "20% projects" (those personal projects Google allows in a fifth of your working hours) full-time. Anyone wanting to sign up would submit a business plan and, if accepted, spend several months working solely on that idea. You could scratch that inventor's itch without worrying that you'll lose your cushy Google job if it it doesn't pan out.

The company isn't confirming anything yet, and it's not clear exactly when Area 120 would be open for business. Having said that, an incubator wouldn't be surprising. Google's existing attempts at fostering a startup-like culture don't always stop people from jumping ship -- just ask the ATAP team, which just lost its leader to Facebook. And in a few cases, defectors go on to found companies that directly undermine Google. Kevin Systrom, for instance, worked two years at Google before the eventual creation of Instagram and its acquisition by (you guessed it) Facebook.

The catch, as The Information notes, is that this idea nursery might not be enough. It's relatively easy to raise funds in the current Silicon Valley climate, and the freedom of going it alone may prove more tempting than Google's safety net. However, it could be worthwhile for the internet pioneer if even one big new idea stays within its walls.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
55 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

The 2019 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

The 2019 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

View
Facebook is fixing a bug that turned on phone cameras

Facebook is fixing a bug that turned on phone cameras

View
Iowa asked researchers to break into a courthouse, then it arrested them

Iowa asked researchers to break into a courthouse, then it arrested them

View
'Star Wars' and 'The Mandalorian' make Disney+ worth it

'Star Wars' and 'The Mandalorian' make Disney+ worth it

View
'Star Wars' on Disney+ reignites the Han-Greedo fan drama

'Star Wars' on Disney+ reignites the Han-Greedo fan drama

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr