An earlier report
that saw Google eyeing startup satellite imagining company Skybox Imaging was confirmed today, with an announcement from the companies. The search giant will acquire Skybox for $500 million in cash, a figure that was lower than the $1 billion the company was originally thought to fetch. Google says
that buying Skybox will help them keep Google Maps "accurate with up-to-date imagery."
Google reports that Skybox employees will be working within a few areas of Google once the deal goes through, including the Internet access and disaster relief divisions. Skybox will continue to launch their small satellites and improve imagery with Google's Geo team as well. Until the deal closes, Skybox says business operations are going to carry on as they normally would.
"Skybox and Google share more than just a ZIP code," said
Skybox. "We both believe in making information (especially accurate geospatial information) accessible and useful. And to do this, we're both willing to tackle problems head on -- whether it's building cars that drive themselves, or designing our own satellites from scratch."
Google will now have direct access to the technology behind the Skybox imagining process, that could add high-resolution images and video to a number of projects. Google was brief in its announcement of the pickup, leaving out any tie on its part to Project Loon or self-driving car projects. However, if they are going to use the Skybox technology in their Internet access division, it isn't a stretch that it might tie together with the balloon and drone technology the company has already picked up.
Skybox Imaging was founded in 2009, picking up $3 million in funding in its first year while the company started operations out of one of the founder's homes. The company raised an additional $18 million in funding in 2011, and $70 million in 2012. Skysat-1, the company's first satellite, was successfully launched November 2013.