The Wall Street Journal has profiled one of Google’s recent acquisitions, which could have an incredible effect on mapping and privacy.
Just a few weeks ago Google announced they acquired Skybox Imaging, a company that captures high resolution images using satellites, for $500 million.
Here are some examples of what Skybox Imaging can do:
“We’re looking at Foxconn every week,” [the CEO of Skybox] says, because measuring the density of trucks outside the Taiwanese company’s manufacturing facilities tells Skybox when the next iPhone will be released.
Skybox can determine how much oil is being pumped out of the ground in Saudi Arabia by imaging oil-storage tanks from above. The company can peg the likely price of grain months in advance by measuring the health of every square yard of cropland on Earth. One city has used Skybox’s data to determine who built illegal backyard pools and might also use it to identify water-restriction violators during a drought.
Using the satellites to determine when the next-generation iPhone will be released seems a bit far fetched. Assuming this is true, Google could use this information to plan the release dates of its device(s) and market the device(s) accordingly.
However, using the technology for stuff like this could pose privacy and security concerns.
Google has said they acquired the company primarily to improve their images on Google Maps. However, the search giant will probably come up with many more ways to use the company and their technology.
[via Business Insider]