Google has acquired Boston Dynamics, a military contractor which had released videos of its four-legged robot capable of galloping at high speeds and a small four-wheeled vehicle that can jump 30 feet up in the air.

Andy Rubin, who heads Google's robotics division, said Boston Dynamic's technology was crucial to the search giant's robotics plans, though he did not divulge the long-term plan for the division or the financial details of the deal.

"The future is looking awesome," Rubin said in a message posted on his Twitter account after news of the deal leaked out.

The deal was first reported by the New York Times on Saturday.

"I am excited by Andy and Google's ability to think very, very big, with the resources to make it happen", Marc Raibert, founder of Boston Dynamics, was quoted as saying by the Times.

Besides designing four-legged and four-wheeled robots, the company also has been working on humanoids as part of a $10.8mn contract with the US government's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), according to the Associated Press.

Boston Dynamic's website even lists a gadget capable of scaling vertical walls using "micro-claws". The company's robots look as if they came out of science-fiction movies, and are often co-funded by the US military.

Google's secretive robotics division has acquired over half-a-dozen other robotics companies as well, according to reports.

Earlier this month, media reports suggested that the company intended to focus on developing robotic technology for use in factories, as some of the robotics companies bought by Google have worked on humanoids that could be used for loading and unloading delivery trucks.

Recent media speculation also indicated that Google has been planning to build robots that could eventually replace many manufacturing and distribution centre jobs.

Bot & Dolly, a company bought by Google, makes a robotic camera system used on the sets of the science-fiction film "Gravity."

The robotics companies acquired by Google this year are Schaft, Industrial Perception, Meka, Redwood Robotics, Autofuss and Holomni.