Google acquires maker of Toontastic storytelling app

The search giant scoops up Launchpad Toys and its popular make-your-own cartoon app for kids, which is now free to all users.

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A look at the Google-owned Toontastic. Launchpad Toys

Search giant Google looks to be building its presence in the child-friendly mobile apps business.

Google has acquired Launchpad Toys, maker of the popular kid-friendly storytelling app Toontastic, the startup announced on Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"We're proud to announce that our little toy company is joining a great big team of tinkerers to empower gajillions of playful storytellers around the world," Launchpad wrote in its blog on Wednesday. "Launchpad Toys is joining Google to create even more amazing creativity tools for kids."

Launchpad Toys offers a few kid-friendly mobile apps, including augmented reality app TeleStory, but Toontastic has proven to be its most popular child-focused mobile program. Toontastic is a storytelling app that allows kids to create their own cartoons and tell a story. The app is designed for Apple's iPad, and as the company puts it, is essentially a modern-day puppet show.

Once those shows are put on, they can be recorded and shared with others.

Now that Google owns Launchpad Toys, the company has made Toontastic -- a previously paid app -- free. In addition, all of the app's playsets are now freely available.

Neither Google nor Launchpad has said what the future holds for Toontastic and the startup. In a blog post, Launchpad would only said that it "can't wait to share" what's next.

Google confirmed the acquisition, but did not offer further comment.

The company has reportedly been keeping a close eye on its youngest potential users. The Information reported last summer that it's working on child-friendly services such as version of YouTube that's safe for kids and a dashboard would allow parents to see the activities of their children. In December, USA Today confirmed those efforts were under way. Having its own educational apps, such as Toontatic, could help beef up such kid-friendly offerings.

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