Google is reportedly creating a startup incubator that will enable some of its employees to work on personal projects full time, according to The Information.
The incubator, called Area 120, is part of an effort by Google to retain some of its most ambitious employees.
With Area 120, an employee could submit a business plan for a project they wish to pursue. If accepted, the employee could then spend several months working just on that idea.
Google has yet to confirm the plan, however.
The company already encourages employees to pursue projects on the side, with around 20% of their workday. But with Area 120 employees could turn to their projects full time.
It’s unclear whether Google is having a hard time retaining employees overall, or whether it simply wants to make a greater effort to retain its best and brightest. Either way, if the plan keeps even one amazing idea from leaving Google, it could be worth it. By hosting those ideas onsite and allowing them to incubate, the company may have an avenue for new products or services in the future.
Earlier this month, Google lost Regina Dugan, who ran their Advanced Technologies and Projects lab, to Facebook. Dugan will lead a new team inside Facebook called Building 8. The goal of Building 8 appears to be to build a number of future technologies for the company. Innovative initiatives like Area 120 and Building 8 may become the new way top tech companies compete to attract and retain the best IT employees.