Last month, there were reports that Google might be working on an in-house startup incubator called Area 120 to allow its employees to work on their entrepreneurial ideas without leaving their job. And it turns out that the report was indeed true as in an interview with Forbes, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has confirmed that the company is working on a new corporate incubator called Area 120.
Pichai also revealed that Area 120 is a more formal chance to the employees to spend 20% of their time on projects of their interest. It is worth mentioning that this 20% policy at Google was behind many successful products by the company such as Adsense, News, and Gmail.
Talking about same, Pichai said,
We’ve always had a strong interest from within Google for people to go work on new things and have developed many of our products internally that way. At our scale, we want to make sure that there is a thoughtful way by which you give an avenue for those projects to be ambitious.
He further added that the program was still taking shape and its contours are yet to be defined but there is a lot of internal interest in this idea.
Area 120 will serve as an incubator for the employees of Google providing them with necessary infrastructure and computing resources to work on their ideas. And like any other incubator, they will have to submit a business plan which would need to be get approved before they join Area 120.
At the incubator, instead of spending just 20% of their time in a day on their project, employees can work full time and may be able to spend even six months on the project.
We also have large centralized infrastructure and services which people can take advantage of to go tackle new things, which is more like an incubator,
In addition to resource and infrastructure support, employees may also pitch their ideas in front of Google to get financial support or create a new company in which the search giant may invest. And of course, it is also an effective way to prevent brain drain from Google and can even pave ways for innovative products and services which could be incorporated into the company itself in future.
Even before Area 120, Google has supported its employees in different ways by allowing some to start new projects internally or using its venture arm GV to provide funding to startups whose founders chose to leave Google.
According to the previous report, Area 120 will be headed by Google executives Don Harrison and Bradley Horowitz and housed in one of the buildings of San Francisco office of Google.