The deal is actually noteworthy on a number of levels, from the technology involved, the social and privacy implications, and the business dealings involving the aforementioned parties and then some.
For starters, the New Mexico-based drone maker specializes in producing high-altitude solar atmospheric satellites. The WSJ report suggests that Google will put these unmanned machines to work primarily for Google Maps, Earth, and other projects that require the collection of aerial images.
Google itself has yet to publicly confirm the deal, but it looks like the New Mexico team will be staying put under current leadership.
In December, Google bought Boston Dynamics, which developed a number of robots said to be inspired by animals, for an undisclosed sum. The news broke shortly after Amazon made headlines over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with its own robotic moonshot project, Prime Air drone delivery.
The special department, staffed by the same engineering talent behind Facebook's infrastructure team as well as the Open Compute Project, has been tasked with designing the aerospace and communication components behind Internet.org, Facebook's other pet project to deliver Internet access to virtually anyone and everyone on the planet.
Such an endeavor to reach the most far-flung corners of the world is incredibly expensive, perhaps thought to be impossible until the last few years, if not months.