Today, Google announced that they have purchased Skybox Imaging, a company that captures high resolution images using satellites, for $500 million in cash.
The primary use of the company will be to improve Google Maps and Google Earth. In their blog post about the acquisition Google said:
“Skybox’s satellites will help keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery. Over time, we also hope that Skybox’s team and technology will be able to help improve Internet access and disaster relief — areas Google has long been interested in.”
In a blog post, Skybox Imaging said:
“We’re thrilled to announce that Skybox Imaging has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Google!
We’ve built and launched the world’s smallest high-resolution imaging satellite, which collects beautiful and useful images and video every day. We have built an incredible team and empowered them to push the state-of-the-art in imaging to new heights. The time is right to join a company who can challenge us to think even bigger and bolder, and who can support us in accelerating our ambitious vision.”
For now, it seems that the company will use Skybox Imaging to improve their maps service, however, this does not rule out other possible uses of Skybox’s technology.
Google could use the satellites to spread Internet access even further as a part of their Project Loon experiment, which aims to bring Internet access to remote areas. Only time will tell what Google has in store for Skybox Imaging.
The deal is still subject to closing conditions and regulatory approvals in the U.S.