Google Expands Its Happy Hacker Rewards Program

By Elliot Hong on Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Filled Under: Business, Technology

Google has given hackers and other software researcher types another way to earn some cold hard cash doing what they like to do best … mess around with software code.

Finding a flaw in Google owned domains such as YouTube, Blogger,, and it’s social network Orkut will now earn the finder from $500 to $3133.70, depending on the severity of the flaw. An announcement from a Google blog today also is encouraging the people who find the vulnerabilities to experiment only with their own accounts and not those of others.

Google defines a flaw as “any serious bug which directly affects the confidentiality or integrity of user data”.

Google, as well as other companies have used rewards programs like this before to encourage people who find security holes and other problems in their software to report it to the company and earn some cash … rather than go public and reveal the embarrassing technical hiccup.

When Google released its Chrome browser it used a public rewards system offering up to $1337 to find bugs in the chromium software used by Chrome, and encouraged by that program’s success they’ve decided to expand it.

In this latest rewards program Google has included only its web applications. Other client apps like Android, Picasa, and Sketchup may follow … but not yet.

Still another twist to this program is that for all those philanthropic hackers out there the Google PR machine has kicked in and said that Google will match any amount of  the cash reward the recipient gives to charity.