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

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

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

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Deals on PC World

Deals on PC World

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?