Google Invests $100 Million in Developing Avatars to Compete With TikTok



Is a Bitmoji-like necessary for YouTube Shorts?

As per a recent allegation by a close source, currently, Google may be struggling with its ad business and concentrating more on hardware, yet it also appears willing to shell out nine figures to acquire an AI-powered imaging business specializing in creating avatars.

Google later acknowledged the transaction but provided no other information. According to that source, the cost was $100 million, and the company is called Alter. This deal is expected to support the company’s ambitions to take on TikTok and was finalized two months ago. Jonathan Slimak, former Alter COO, without explicitly mentioning the transaction, revealed in September on LinkedIn that he would be beginning a new role at Google.

Alter debuted as Facemoji, a company that sold plug-and-play avatars on social media and gaming platforms in 2020. Several businesses, including Twitter, gave three million dollars in seed funding.

Snapchat has dedicated full-body avatars called Bitmoji in addition to face-mapped filters and avatars. Facebook and Instagram have similar options. With Tik-Tok being the target, Google may also be preparing avatars for its YouTube Shorts platform. However, it’s unclear if Google is only trying to catch up with TikTok with such a move.

Our previous report covered Google’s acquisition of micro-LED manufacturer Raxium in February. Now, with the purchase of Alter, Alphabet has acquired eight significant companies this year.

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