Google plans to expand its Summer of Code program for university students into the southern hemisphere this year, making it possible for Australian undergraduates to participate during their summer break.
First started in 2005, Summer of Code aims to help students gain practical experience in coding through working on assigned open source projects, and to date, more than 1,500 students have taken part.
Summer of Code program manager Leslie Hawthorn told attendees at linux.conf.au in Melbourne that an expansion of the program to reflect local academic calendars was on the cards.
Displaying the famous Google mania for secrecy, Hawthorn used the phrase "nudge nudge wink wink" repeatedly, but nonetheless all but confirmed that an announcement of the local program is expected in October.
Details of the northern hemisphere Summer of Code for 2008 will be released in around three weeks.
While Summer of Code is often viewed as an informal recruiting ground for Google itself, Hawthorn, self-described as Google's "geek herder", said that a major incentive for many participants was to get an official Summer of Code T-shirt.
"You would be shocked by the number of applications that specifically mention the shirt," she said.