Google has a plan to stop its top talent jumping ship

google area 21 hq
So it seems Google’s top brass has had enough of its employees walking out the door as soon as they come up with an awesome startup idea.

There’s no publicly available data on how often this actually happens, but the fact that Google now has a plan to stop them leaving suggests that holding on to talent has become a real issue for the company.

The strategy? Launch an incubator within Google so entrepreneur-minded employees can pitch their ideas directly to the company.

Area 120

Called “Area 120,” the setup will be led by long-time Google executives Don Harrison and Bradley Horowitz, The Information reported after speaking to insiders with knowledge of the matter.

The plan is to encourage Googlers with startup ideas to submit an outline of their project to Area 120. If the proposal gets the green light, the team can work on it full-time for several months to take it to the next level.

The next step will be to pitch the developed plan to Google with the aim of securing funding. Should the Web giant be suitably impressed, it’ll support the creation of a full-fledged startup and even invest in it.

The name of the initiative appears to be a nod to the company’s long-running “20 percent time” scheme that lets employees spend 20 percent of their working hours tinkering with personal projects.

Google believes the scheme empowers its workers “to be more creative and innovative,” and claims it’s led the company to many “significant advances” over the years.

Now it just wants to make sure that when great ideas pop into the minds of its talented team, they don’t make a beeline for the exit to either launch their plan independently or take it to a competing firm.

Google hasn’t confirmed the existence of Area 120, but the idea makes sense on several levels. Besides keeping talent inside the company, it’d also prevent a competitor getting its hands on a promising – or later, successful – startup. As for Googlers looking to take a proposal for a spin, Area 120 sounds like it’ll provide not only the financial support and working hours for the plan’s development, but also the job security as they work to see if their ambitious plan really has legs.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

We toured the Google Hardware Store pop-up in New York: Here’s what it’s like

To show off its slew of new products, Google is opening up pop-up shops in New York and Chicago starting October 18. You'll be able to buy products -- such as the Pixel 3 or the Google Home Hub -- at the Google Hardware Store.
Computing

Is the Pixelbook 2 still happening? Here's everything we know so far

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Has the Pixel Slate taken its place? Google hasn't announced it, but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.
Emerging Tech

This high-tech shopping cart from Walmart could save your life

Walmart has an idea for a shopping cart that monitors customers' health. Data from it could help it to improve the shopping experience, and enable staff to react quickly to accidents or sudden health-related issues among shoppers.
Emerging Tech

This intelligent parachute system can bail out clumsy drone pilots

Parachutes can save drones when they unexpectedly fall from the sky. Among a number of such systems, Austrian firm Drone Rescue is this week showing off its latest design that automatically deploys when it senses trouble.
Cars

‘Bloodhound’ rocket car needs a speedy cash injection to survive

The rocket-powered Bloodhound car has driven into difficulties, with the company behind the project needing a multi-million-dollar cash injection to save its dream of attempting a 1,000 mph land speed record.
Emerging Tech

Tokyo robotic warehouse needs almost no human workers

Uniqlo has unveiled its first robot-powered warehouse that requires 90 percent fewer human workers to operate. The Japanese clothing giant plans to invest close to $1 billion dollars to convert all of its warehouses worldwide.
Emerging Tech

Curious how A.I. 'brains' work? Here's a super-simple breakdown of deep learning

What is deep learning? A branch of machine learning, this field deals with the creation of neural networks that are modeled after the brain and adept at dealing with large amounts of human-oriented data, like writing and voice commands.
Emerging Tech

Drop everything and watch Boston Dynamics’ robo-dog dance to ‘Uptown Funk’

After a few years of Earthbound training, Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini robot dog is ready to take on Mars. Bruno Mars, to be precise. Check out Skynet's future pet as you've never seen it before.
Emerging Tech

Self-correcting quadcopter can keep itself aloft even if one rotor fails

Most quadcopters won't fly unless all four rotors are functioning. But what happens if one gets damaged during flight? Researchers from the Netherlands think they've come up with a solution.
Emerging Tech

MIT is building a new $1 billion college dedicated to all things A.I.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has announced a new $1 billion college of computing designed to offer the best possible education to future machine learning A.I. experts.
Emerging Tech

This gadget lets you sleep on airplanes without snuggling a stranger

Odd gadget, or a hug for your face? The Napup Fly+ is a travel pillow, sleep mask, and personal speaker system all rolled into one, attached to the back of the headrest to hold your head up.
Emerging Tech

From flying for fun to pro filmmaking, these are the best drones you can buy

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Healthy mice born from two genetic mothers using stem cells, gene editing

Healthy mice have been born from two genetics mothers and later went on to bear healthy offspring of their own, according to a recent paper published by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.