Google buys design firm behind OLPC and Slingbox

Man, Google's checkbook is really getting a workout this summer. According to a report from Bloomberg, the search giant just acquired yet another company, and unlike the other two companies it bought this month, it isn't an mobile app startup No, no: its latest target is a small product design firm called Gecko, and Google's looking to bring those design smarts to bear on its ambitious Google X projects.

You might not heard of Gecko, but you've almost certainly come across one of the products they've helped design. There's the original Fitbit, for one, to say nothing of Jawbone's early Bluetooth headsets, the friendly looking One Laptop Per Child notebook and a whole host of Dell PCs over the years. Gecko's technical bonafides and awfully pretty designs seem almost beyond question, but what's still unclear is what projects Gecko will start (or has already started) pitching in on. There are some we could probably cross off the list, though: Google's internet-beaming balloons might not need a facelift, and there isn't a lot you can do to gussy up a pair of smart contact lenses. Gecko's forté lays in consumer tech design - perhaps the next big Google Glass revision (which the folks in Mountain View have been trying to inject with style for a while now) will look like something people will actually want to wear.