Deals

Google X buys product design firm to bring more polish to projects

Image Credit: Neon Tommy/Flickr

Google X, the experimental research arm of Google that’s responsible for Glass and driverless cars, has just acquired a product design company, Gecko Design.

Gecko Design president/owner Jacques L. Gagné writes:

This is an incredible opportunity for everyone at Gecko. We are very excited and honored to join Google(x) and work on a variety of cutting edge projects.

The design studio, founded in 1996 by Gagné, seems to fall somewhere between pure industrial design (think Yves Behar’s fuseproject) and actual manufacturing. According to Gecko’s website, the firm claims to have deep expertise in working with industrial designers while also balancing client’s engineering needs. It also says that the Gecko has worked with top product design studios such as fuseproject, frogdesign, and Newdeal Design over the years. The shop has also worked on consumer electronics projects with companies like Dell, Fitbit, HP, Sonos, and Warner Brothers.

Google X works on Google’s moonshot projects, which range from driverless cars to Calico, Google’s “life extension” (read: immortality) project. It’s not hard to see why Gecko’s team would be of use. Many of those project end up being very much consumer-facing while dealing with very complex, new, and sophisticated technology that needs a lot of careful thought on the design front.

In May 2013, Google X acquired Makani Power, a startup working on airborne wind turbines, at undisclosed terms.

This is not Google’s first design acquisition: in September, Google (not Google X) acqui-hired the design team of the Hattery, a San Francisco-based VC firm and incubator of sorts.

No terms of the Gecko Design deal have been disclosed.

More information:

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9 comments
David Scott Murphy
David Scott Murphy

Google needs to broken up as company, they are creating a monopoly.

Kyle Pouliot
Kyle Pouliot

I normally don't agree with shit like this, but you're correct. Design implementation starts in the strategy phase of the overall product.

Raul Flores Jr
Raul Flores Jr

I agree, can they commit to design? This is a fundamental question core to culture and a great challenge for the company at a key time. ~express yourselves google and good luck.

Jimi Atherton
Jimi Atherton

Your interview process is ridiculous from what i hear

Thomas Løfgren
Thomas Løfgren

So yeah, design is not really "polish" you add on top, but deeply ingrained in a product from its gestation. Good luck to Google trying to paint product pigs after the fact, if that's the plan.

Peter Michaels Allen
Peter Michaels Allen

It's not a question of if Google can buy Designers. It's can they commit to Design?!

Arkadiusz Zylka
Arkadiusz Zylka

Couldn't they have just went to Chicago and picked up some good kielbasa? trololol