Area 120 is where Googlers Build their Game Chang­ers

The Economic Times - - Disruption: Startups & Tech -

Nathan McAlone

New York: Google is cre­at­ing an in-house startup in­cu­ba­tor to help keep its en­trepreneurial ta­lent closer to home, said The In­for­ma­tion. The in­cu­ba­tor is called “Area 120” and will be headed by Google ex­ec­u­tives Don Har­ri­son and Bradley Horowitz, sources said. Here’s how Area 120 will work: First, teams within Google will sub­mit a busi­ness plan and ap­ply to join Area 120. If suc­cess­ful, the teams will get to work full-time on their idea for a few months.

They’ll then have the op­por­tu­nity to pitch Google for ad­di­tional fund­ing and cre­ate a new com­pany (which Google will in­vest in).

The name “Area 120” is a ref­er­ence to Google’s fa­mous “20% time”.

Here’s a de­scrip­tion of 20% time that Larry Page and Sergey Brin in­cluded in their 2004 IPO let­ter: “We en­cour­age our em­ploy­ees, in ad­di­tion to their reg­u­lar projects, to spend 20% of their time work­ing on what they think will most ben­e­fit Google,” they wrote. “This em­pow­ers them to be more cre­ative and in­no­va­tive. Many of our sig­nif­i­cant ad­vances have hap­pened in this man­ner.”

Big 20% suc­cesses have in­cluded the de­vel­op­ment of Google News, Gmail, and AdSense. But there have been ques­tions for years as to whether 20% time ac­tu­ally ex­ists at Google any more.

Area 120 seems to be a bid to en­cour­age more of that en­trepreneurial spirit to stay within Google, which was also part of the ra­tio­nale be­hind the cre­ation of Al­pha­bet. — Busi­ness In­sider

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