Google buys Launchpad Toys, a startup with an augmented reality app for kids

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Google has acquired Launchpad Toys, a startup that has produced iOS apps that children can use to make their own content, according to an announcement today from the startup.

“We’re proud to announce that our little toy company is pairing up with a great big team of tinkerers to empower GAJILLIONS of playful storytellers around the world,” the startup wrote in a letter on its homepage. “Launchpad Toys is joining Google to create even more amazing creativity tools for kids.”

Launchpad Toys is also making its “digital toys and tools” available for free, the startup said.

The San Francisco-based startup began in 2010. It was part of the summer 2011 batch of Y Combinator.

“I saw the movie Big when I was 8, and I decided I wanted to be Tom Hanks,” Launchpad Toys cofounder Andy Russell told VentureBeat in a 2011 interview. “I was a toy designer for Hasbro, and the iPhone came out. I thought that would be the end of the industry. For years, I was stuffing electronics into toys. In the end, we needed to start stuffing toys into electronics. So I left for grad school, and started building a prototype.”

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