Google Sets Eyes on Satellite Startup Skybox Imaging, Wants to Buy It for Over $1 Billion

The two companies have been negotiating a deal for several weeks

Google is apparently looking to invest more in its mapping efforts, especially since it needs extremely accurate information to help out with the driverless cars. The company has reportedly been looking into buying Skybox Imaging, a satellite company, for over $1 billion (€730 million).

According to TechCrunch, Google is getting close to sign the deal with Skybox Imaging, a satellite company that focuses on recording very detailed landscape pictures and video. Last month, the company bought Titan Aerospace, a drone maker.

This isn’t the first time rumors about the deal between the two companies resurface. In fact, it looks like Google and Skybox have been talking things over for several weeks and they’re finally getting close to sealing the deal. It also seems like the Internet giant is interested in Planet Labs, another startup that works in satellite imaging.

Estimates indicate that the buying price is over $1 billion (€730 million), especially since Skybox’s value is placed between $500 million (€366.8 million) and $700 million (€513.5 million).

Google could really use Skybox’ skills and technology considering that it has quite a few products that deal with mapping, namely Google Earth and Google Maps. The company has its own source of data, but it could always use higher quality imagery and improve the services.

It was recently reported that Google’s driverless cars are doing really well on known roads, but that it has troubles with those that are new because it cannot read information. By updating Maps data more often, the company could provide more exact information for its experimental cars.

Google also has a business division dubbed “Earth Enterprise” which provides mapping data for large organizations, institutions or businesses, which could also enjoy the added data from Skybox.

Skybox was founded in 2009 by Dan Berkenstock, Julian Mann, John Fenwick and Ching-Yu Hu. “In today’s connected world, every organization is deeply impacted by events across the globe on a daily basis. Skybox Imaging was founded on the premise that an ability to better understand these phenomena could fundamentally change the way humanity makes decisions on a daily basis -- increasing the profitability of businesses and improving the welfare of societies worldwide,” reads the company’s description on the site.

Skybox builds satellites, writes codes and deploys data centers, providing businesses with a full service.

It remains to be seen whether the deal will get to be completed soon, but the two companies are certainly going to make an official announcement, although it will likely be missing the financial terms.

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