It appears that Google is going head to head with seed investors (like Y combinator) with its Google Gadget Ventures:
Google Gadget Ventures is a new Google pilot program dedicated to helping developers create richer, more useful Google Gadgets. Inspired by the success of iGoogle, which has been driven by the creation by 3rd-party developers of a broad range of gadgets, Gadget Ventures provides two types of funding:
1. Grants of $5,000 to those who’ve built gadgets we’d like to see developed further. You’re eligible to apply for a grant if you’ve developed a gadget that’s in our Google gadgets directory and gets at least 250,000 weekly page views. To apply, you must submit a one-page proposal detailing how you’d use the grant to improve your gadget.
2. Seed investments of $100,000 to developers who’d like to build a business around the Google gadgets platform. Only Google Gadget Venture grant recipients are eligible for this type of funding. Submitting a business plan detailing how you plan to build a viable business around the gadgets platform is a required part of the seed investment application process.
If it’s google gadgets now, are google apps next?
On a related note, does Google’s recent ubiquisys investment + FON = ?