I have to disagree on that one. The Google Summer of Code is basically run by 5 people from the Open Source Programs Office. There's no one from HR involved.
Google has absolutely no control over who gets selected. The orgs alone choose their students. The only feedback that Google gets from the Summer of Code projects are two routinely hurriedly written reports from the orgs at mid-term and end of project.
Finally, of those that successfully complete the Summer of Code, less than 1% end up as Google interns and even less as full-time engineers.
Debian is welcoming students once again this year. I was a 2008 GSoC student at Debian and am returning this year to admin the GSoC program at Debian. I had a very exciting experience, participating in meetups with a lot of Debian developers all over Europe and I recommend you to apply at Debian to share this experience.
We have a huge range of project possibilities, from our famous packaging system (.deb ftw) to debian-specific developer tools and infrastructure (want to work on our multi-arch distributed build farm ?) or hardware support (because Debian runs everywhere, from tiny ARM devices to country-wide computing grids). We have you all covered.
Remember that Debian and its derivatives are the largest group of Linux distributions in the world. That's a huge community you'll be working with, and I should say, an amazing concentration of talent.
Also, see our mailing-list announcement for more pratical information.
Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.