The Wall Street Journal:

Google Inc. is working on plans to start a venture-capital arm, according to several people briefed on the discussions.

The group will be led by David Drummond, Google’s senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer, according to two of these people. Google has hired William Maris, a 33-year-old former entrepreneur who has worked as an investor, to help set up the venture. How the group will be structured and what sort of investments it is likely to target remain unclear.

The move would make Google the latest technology giant to take on a more-formal role in seeding start-ups. Intel Corp. has had a large venture-capital arm for years, as have Motorola Inc., Comcast Corp. and many others. In the consumer-Internet area, Walt Disney Co.’s Steamboat Ventures has invested in a number of Web start-ups. So has Amazon.com Inc., which has funded a number of young companies without structuring a formal fund.

The new venture could help formalize those efforts and could help Google expand the footprint of some of its online-software products geared at small businesses.

Photo by Google.

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