Google is buying near real-time satellite imaging company Skybox Imaging for $500 million in cash, it announced Tuesday.
Google says Skybox, which claims to have built the world’s smallest high-resolution imaging satellite, will help Google improve its Maps product. “Skybox’s satellites will help keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery,” Google said in a press release announcing the deal. “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.”
The demonstration video above shows what Skybox’s satellites are capable of doing.
Google has made significant investments in aerial projects over the last year, from buying the drone company Titan Aerospace to experimenting with balloons to deliver Internet access in remote areas — it’s also possible that Google could use Skybox’s satellite technology to expand global Internet access as well.
In a blog post of its own, Skybox said it was “thrilled” to be bought out by Google and make hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. “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,” the company wrote.
The terms of the deal are subject to approval from federal regulators in the U.S.