updated 07:14 am EDT, Thu October 3, 2013
Flutter tracks hands, uses gestures to control music, video
Google has acquired hand tracking and gesture recognition startup Flutter. Using a webcam, the app for Mac and Windows can be used to navigate music and media players such as Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, and Netflix, with open-palm and thumb-based commands allowing to play and pause, fast forward, and rewind content.
Despite the apparent basic nature of the app, still available to download via the Flutter website, Google still saw something it could potentially use in products in the future. Though financial terms were not revealed, sources of TechCrunch place the value of the deal at around $40 million. CEO Navneet Dalal advises that the team will continue its research at Google, and will continue to provide the app to users.
Considering Google's current use of voice commands in the form of Google Now, and the rising trend of gesture controls in the style of the Xbox Kinect, the acquisition seems to be a logical progression for Google. While it is likely to include webcam-based gesture controls to some of its apps and services in the future, such as for the desktop version of Google Maps, it is unlikely to take the form of its Gmail Motion April Fools video from 2011.