Google enhanced its online mapping service by acquiring Mountain View, California-based Skybox Imaging for $500 million in cash. Sources say both Google and Facebook are purchasing satellite and drone companies in an attempt to expand into other market areas.
One of the ways Google will be leveraging Skybox is in disaster relief and to improve Internet access in remote areas, something the company has been strongly pursuing, according to GPS World’s LBS Editor Kevin Dennehy.
On its website, the five-year-old Skybox said that it plans also to share in the development of the burgeoning autonomous vehicle market and continue to design its own satellites.
Skybox posted a message about the acquisition on its website: “We’ve built and launched the world’s smallest high-resolution imaging satellite, which collects beautiful and useful images and video every day. 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.
“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.”