Google is offering grants worth up to $3,000 to investigate suspected security flaws as a part of a new "experimental" initiative.
Google security engineer Eduardo Vela Nava announced the move in a blog post, promising to offer further incentives for researchers to investigate suspected problems that they would otherwise ignore.
"Today we're rolling out a new, experimental programme: Vulnerability Research Grants. These are upfront awards that we will provide to researchers before they ever submit a bug," he explained.
"We'll publish different types of vulnerabilities, products and services for which we want to support research beyond our normal vulnerability rewards.
"We'll award grants immediately before research begins, with no strings attached. Researchers then pursue the research they applied for, as usual. There will be various tiers of grants, with a maximum of $3,133.70."
Google also announced plans to expand its existing bug bounty programme to include flaws in mobile applications.
"Also starting today, all mobile applications officially developed by Google on Google Play and iTunes will now be within the scope of the Vulnerability Reward Programme," read the post.
Google's reforms have been met positively by members of the security community. F-Secure security advisor Sean Sullivan told V3 the initiatives will help focus researchers' efforts.
"Seems like a great idea. The process of bug bounties has been evolving and Google's been a leader in this. It's helpful for the researchers," he said.
"If one applies for a grant and gets back a response that several other grants for that topic have already been given - it's a good signal to the researcher that it's a competitive topic.
"That allows the researcher to shift focus if they want which undoubtedly increases motivation as they have better chances of finding bugs before others do. Seems like a good win-win organisational approach to me."
Google has been a constant supporter of bug bounty schemes, and announced reforms to its programmes in 2014.
Project Zero was launched in July 2014 with the apparent intention of speeding up companies' patch release schedules.
The team of researchers does this by initially disclosing flaws privately to the firms responsible and giving them 90 days to release a fix before making the research public.
The project was criticised earlier this year for the public disclosure of bugs in Microsoft's Windows and Apple's Mac OS X operating systems.
Nava credited the schemes as a success despite the controversy. He revealed that Google paid researchers more than $1.5m for discovering over 500 bugs last year.
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