Google is an old hand at investing in startups, but today, the search company is launching a formal venture capital unit focused on turning the practice into a profit maker.
The Mountain View mega-firm has created Google Ventures, which aims to invest in a broad array of tech-related industries.
"We think we can find young companies with truly awesome potential and encourage their development into successful businesses," posted Rich Miner and William Maris, the managing partners of Google Ventures.
Google picked up Miner in 2005 as the co-founder of Android, a mobile software start-up which would become the basis for Google's phone OS.
Google Ventures will focus on early stage investments in things like consumer internet, software, clean-tech, bio-tech, health care, and more, according to the posting.
The unit said that central to its efforts would be tapping "fellow Googlers" to point out potential investment areas and specific companies.
"Economically, times are tough, but great ideas come when they will. If anything, we think the current downturn is an ideal time to invest in nascent companies that have the chance to be the 'next big thing,' and we'll be working hard to find them," the company wrote.
According to the website, the unit will be able to swing around amounts up to tens of millions of dollars. It also claims companies don't need to have any connection or business relationship with Google to step up to the teet.