Google acquires satellite company Skybox for $500M

Summary:Google said it plans to use Skybox's satellites to keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery and eventually for work with disaster relief.

SkySat1Turkey
Image via Skybox

Google announced that it has acquired Skybox Imaging for $500 million in cash. 

Skybox is a Mountain View, California-based private sector satellite maker. Its satellites record and provide access to high-definition video of landscapes and detailed imagery — and Google hopes to use them keep its Maps application up to date.

Google also said it plans to eventually use the satellites to help improve Internet access and disaster relief, areas the company said it has long been interested. 

Another area where Google could use the Skybox tech is data analysis. Skybox offers analytics services based on data gleaned from the aggregation of thousands of its image collections.

But the acquisition clearly shows Google's intention to gain a strong footing in the sky. The Internet giant recently acquired Titan Aerospace, a company that makes high-flying, high-altitude solar atmospheric satellites. Combing the muscle of the two companies might be part of Google's larger mission to use unmanned machines to work primarily for Google Maps, Earth, or other projects that require the collection of aerial images.

Then again, a hint in the Skybox blog suggests self-driving cars could also be part of the acquisition equation:

"Skybox and Google share more than just a zip code. 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."

Read more:

Topics: Google

About

Natalie Gagliordi is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in Louisville, Kentucky, covering business technology for ZDNet. She previously worked as the editor of Kiosk Marketplace, an online B2B trade publication that focused on interactive self-service technology, while also contributing to additional websites that covered retail tec... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.