Google’s Area 120 start-up incubator takes 20% time to the next level


Employee retention isn’t an appealing topic for many, but it’s especially important for large companies. While Google offers quite a few perks to its employees, it’s hard to keep them happy when many of them dream of starting a business of their own. In an effort to get ahead of this issue, a report from The Information claims that Sundar Pichai has appointed Don Harrison and Bradley Horowitz to develop an in-house incubator. Dubbed “Area 120,” the Google incubator would allow the company’s employees to work on their startup ideas by ironing out business plans and even providing funding, all while keeping their day jobs at Google.

Google has not made any official comment regarding the Area 120 incubator report, but the idea seems plausible. The Area 120 start-up incubator may be an evolution of the company’s 80/20 policy which was officially retired a few years back. Google’s 80/20 policy allowed its employees to spend 20% of their time working on side projects within Google with 80% of their time dedicated to their actual jobs. It seems “Area 120” could be in reference to a different type of 20% time, where you’re going above and beyond the typical 100%.

Giving its employees a little extra space, support and even funding to work on their own projects should give them an extra incentive to stay with Google as long as possible. It could also be a huge benefit to Google as it would have the opportunity to fully invest into any projects before anyone else.

Will this be enough to prevent bitter rivals Apple and Facebook from plucking top talent from Google ranks? Let us know in the comments.

Nick Gray
I'm a life-long tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC. After writing about tech for more than a decade, I jumped at the opportunity to take on the role of Editor in Chief at Phandroid. Please contact me at [email protected].

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