Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) has purchased Flutter, a startup that develops gesture-recognition software.
The San Francisco-based target detects simple hand signals via webcam, using them to control applications such as iTunes and Netflix. Google reportedly paid $40 million for the company.
The acquisition is expected to help Google integrate the technology with its Chromebook laptops and handheld devices.
Gesture-recognition technology is currently used mostly for gaming consoles, such as Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s (TSX: 7974) Wii and Microsoft Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Xbox Kinect.
Flutter, which was founded in 2010, will continue to support its current app. The company was founded by Navneet Dalal and Mehul Nariyawala and received $1.4 million in venture capital funding from Andreessen Horowitz, New Enterprise Associates, Spring Ventures and Start Fund.
Google has made several acquisitions in 2013. In June, the company bought Waze Inc., a mobile application that allows users to contribute information about traffic conditions and road hazards. In May, Google bought airborne wind turbine maker Makani Power. Also in May, the company picked up a minority stake in peer-to-peer lender Lending Club.
Technology giants have been scooping up startups. In August, Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) picked up Rockmelt, a startup that develops web browsing technology. In July, the company acquired Qwiki Inc., a mobile application that allows users to create videos on iPhones. In July, Samsung Electronics Co. picked up Boxee Inc., a New York startup that makes a set-top box to record broadcasts and stream online. For more on startup acquisitions, see “10 Startups Marissa Mayer Bought Before Tumblr.”