Google acquires Gecko Design for next-generation products

Gecko's designers will join Google X, which works on new products like Glass

Google has acquired Gecko Design, which will become part of the Internet company's unit developing cutting-edge products like Glass and balloons for Internet access.

Terms of the deal, announced Friday, were not disclosed. Gecko President Jacques Gagne and its four other employees will join Google's "X" research division next month. In addition to Glass and Internet balloons, other projects at Google X include self-driving cars and contact lenses for measuring blood glucose levels.

Google CEO Larry Page has referred to these sorts of projects as "big bets" or "moon shots."

Gecko, founded in 1996 and based in Los Gatos, California, could help Google in the physical design of these products as Google expands beyond software. Products designed with Gecko's services include the wearable Fitbit activity tracker, Hewlett-Packard computer towers and laptops, and low-cost computers for third world countries from the One Laptop per Child project.

Gecko's Gagne would not say in an interview which Google X projects specifically the team would be working on. But his firm has been working with Google on one X project since last year, he said. Acquisition talks with Google began late last year, he said.

At Google X, Gecko's focus will remain on product development and mechanical engineering, he said. "For engineers, this is a playground," he said, referring to Google X.

Google has already brought in outside help to try to make Glass a mainstream product and shed its geeky image. In May the company hired Ivy Ross , a designer and former Calvin Klein and Gap executive. Google has also partnered with the Luxottica Group, the Italian company that owns Ray-Ban, Oakley and other brands, to help design and manufacture Glass frames.

But looks aren't the only thing Glass needs to succeed. The unit's photo and video recording capabilities have raised privacy concerns, and the question remains whether enough people will feel the need for a head-mounted computer to make it a success. There's also the hefty price tag -- the current beta version of Glass costs US$1,500.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags business issuesInternet-based applications and servicesGoogleinternetsearch enginesMergers and acquisitionsGecko Design

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?