Google has acquired Gecko Design, a firm operating out of Los Gatos, Calif., to help with its Google X special projects laboratory. The acquired company has done design work for a number of high-profile clients, including Aliph (Jawbone), Dell, HP, Slingmedia, OLPC and FitBit. It did all of the mechanical design work behind the original activity tracker FitBit debuted at TechCrunch50 in 2008, according to its online portfolio.
Gecko was founded in 1996, and the company has worked with Yves Béhar’s Fuseproject and Frogdesign on past projects, firms which had a hand in the development of some of the most iconic gadgets brought to market in the last decade. Google X is the source of some of Google’s most ambitious projects, including Google Glass, its driverless car program, the wide-reaching Internet connectivity project dubbed Loon and its diabetes monitoring contact lenses.
Gecko design gives Google some significant product design chops to help bring new hardware to market, with both manufacturing and industrial design expertise. Early rumors had pegged Google as shopping around for Jawbone or other wearable device makers, but it’s possible the company decided instead to target a design partner used by these startups instead of the startups themselves (it’s very common for companies, especially young ones, to outsource parts of their product design process).
Google hasn’t released any specifics regarding the deal, but we’ll be sure to update the post if any are revealed.