Google Finally Buys Satellite Company Skybox Imaging

Google paid half of what was originally estimated

By on June 10th, 2014 21:26 GMT

Google has purchased Skybox Imaging, a satellite company that the Internet giant has been negotiating with for months, for $500 million (€370 million), a sum that’s subject to some adjustments.

Skybox Imaging is a company that builds satellites and deploys data centers, while recording and providing access to the captured images and high definition videos.

“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 state­of­the-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,” reads Skybox’s announcement.

The company explains that they both believe in making information accessible and useful and they’re going to work together to tackle problems head on, whether that’s building cars that drive themselves or designing satellites from scratch.

“We should point out that our agreement with Google, which is subject to customary approvals and closing conditions, hasn’t closed yet. So in the short term, it will continue to be business as usual at Skybox,” the company added.

The acquisition makes perfect sense for Google since the Internet giant has plenty of areas where it can integrate Skybox Imaging’s technology.

On one hand, the extra satellite imagery can come in handy for Google Maps and Google Earth since it gives the company constant access to high-quality and real-time photos and videos, which has obvious benefits since Google only replaces Maps imagery every few years.

“Their satellites will help keep our maps accurate with up-to-date imagery. Over time, we would 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,” Google said about the deal.

Which brings us to a second area where Google can use Skybox – bringing Internet access to remote locations in the world. While the company already works on Project Loon, which provides Internet via balloons, there have also been rumors that Google is interested in designing its own satellites and sending them to space. Through this purchase, the company is gaining easy access to this technology.

Lastly, Google’s self-driving cars can definitely benefit from the deal. The cars work with special software that detects and analyzes the world around the vehicles. Since there is no steering wheel and there are no pedals, the cars depend exclusively on Maps, so having up-to-date imagery can certainly come in handy.

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