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Google Inc. has snatched one of Canada's hottest tech startups.

The search engine company has acquired BumpTop, a Toronto-based firm specializing in software that turns a computer desktop into a 3D environment. The parties involved in the sale did not disclose the purchase price, but it is believed to be between $30-million and $45-million.

BumpTop - a startup that operated out of Extreme VP, a Toronto-based venture capital firm - creates software designed for touch screens, especially next-generation screens that allow a user to operate the device using more than one finger at once. For example, BumpTop's software lets users drag items on their desktop into piles, rotate photos and perform other operations using their fingers.

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The BumpTop purchase highlights Google's effort to update many of its services for the mobile market. Products such as Apple's iPhone and iPad have made touch screens, rather than keyboards, the norm for operating many handheld devices, and most of the smart phones powered by Google's Android operating system rely primarily on touch screens.

The Google-BumpTop deal was arranged some time in March. This weekend, the startup replaced its usual homepage with a note advising users of the acquisition.

"This means that BumpTop (for both Windows and Mac) will no longer be available for sale," the company said. "Additionally, no updates to the products are planned."

BumpTop will still allow users to download a free version of their software for another week, and will provide support and refunds for users who have purchased full versions.

Since launching its software last year, BumpTop has drawn attention in the tech world, with coverage on many leading industry blogs. Google's purchase marks the end of the product's standalone availability to the public, but means the technology may well surface on Google's own devices soon.

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