Tech giant Google has acquired Alter, an artificial intelligence (AI) avatar startup that was working on using AI to generate avatars for social media users and brands to express their virtual identity.
According to TechCrunch, Google buys the startup for about $100 million in an effort to improve its content game and compete with TikTok.
The acquisition was completed about two months ago, but neither company made a public announcement.
Some of the top executives of Alter have updated their LinkedIn profiles to reveal that they have joined Google without acknowledging the acquisition, according to the report.
A Google spokesperson confirmed that the company had acquired Alter but declined to comment on the financial terms of the transaction, it added.
Alter started as Facemoji, a platform that offered plug-and-play technology for helping game and App developers add avatar systems to their Apps.
Among its investors are Play Ventures, Roosh Ventures and Twitter, which invested $3 million in the startup. Later Facemoji rebranded as Alter.
Alter founders Jon Slimak and Robin Raszka did not respond to a request for comment, reports TechCrunch.
Meanwhile, Google has recently rolled out custom emojis to its Chat for personalised experience.
Emojis are a great method for users to express themselves in Google Chat, the tech giant said in a blogpost.