Google acquires GraphicsFuzz, a service that tests Android graphics drivers

Google has acquired GraphicsFuzz, a company that builds a framework for testing the security and reliability of Android graphics drivers. The news, which was first spotted by XDA Developers, comes on the same day Google announced the release of Android 9 Pie.

A Google spokesperson confirmed the news to us but declined to provide any further information. The companies also declined to provide any details about the price of the acquisition.

The GraphicsFuzz team, which consists of co-founders Alastair Donaldson, Hugues Evrard and Paul Thomson, will join the Android graphics team to bring its driver-testing technology to the wider Android ecosystem.

“GraphicsFuzz has pioneered the combination of fuzzing and metamorphic testing to yield a highly automatic method for testing graphics drivers that quickly finds and fixes bugs that could undermine reliability and security before they affect end users,” the team explains in today’s announcement. The company’s founders started their work at the Department of Computing at Imperial College London and received funding support from the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the TETRACOM EU project.

While this is obviously not the splashiest of acquisitions, it is nevertheless an important one. In the fractured Android ecosystem, graphics drivers are one of the many pieces that make a phone or tablet work — and when they don’t, it’s often immediately obvious to the user. But broken drivers also expose a phone to security exploits. GraphicsFuzz uses the same kind of fuzzing technique, which essentially throws lots of random data at a program, that’s also becoming increasingly popular in other areas of software development.