Google has been in and out of the news in recent months over its efforts to reduce costs by shuttering moonshot projects like Area 120 or the Pixelbook line (although the latter arguably wasn’t a moonshot). However, those efforts apparently don’t include spending millions on an avatar startup.
Per TechCrunch, Google acquired Alter, a startup that built an artificial intelligence (AI) avatar tool to help creators and brands express their virtual identities. A source familiar with the matter told TechCrunch that Google bought Alter for about $100 million USD (roughly $136.3 million CAD).
Moreover, both Alter and Google kept the acquisition under wraps. TechCrunch says the acquisition was completed about two months ago, and neither company made a public disclosure, although some Alter executives updated their LinkedIn profiles to share that they joined Google. A Google spokesperson confirmed the acquisition to TechCrunch, but wouldn’t discuss the financial terms of the deal.
The source told TechCrunch that Google plans to use Alter to improve and ramp up its content offerings, particularly to help Google better compete with TikTok.
Alter, previously called Facemoji, started as a platform offering plug-and-play tech to help game and app developers put avatar systems into apps. The startup received $3 million USD (about $4 million CAD) from investors including Twitter, Play Ventures, and Roosh Ventures.
Image credit: @Alter