Google on Tuesday announced plans to acquire Skybox Imaging, a company that uses satellites to provide high-resolution imagery to clients. The search giant will pay $500 million in cash for the company according to a brief press release on the matter.
Skybox is responsible for building and launching the world’s smallest high-resolution imaging satellite. In addition to sharing the same ZIP code, the two companies believe in making information (especially accurate geospatial information) accessible and useful according to a company blog post.
Google said Skybox’s satellites will help keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery and over time, they hope the Skybox team and technology will be able to help improve Internet access and disaster relief – areas they have long been interested in.
It’s the latest purchase in a list of aerial technology acquisitions from high-profile companies in recent memory. Earlier this year, Google scooped up drone maker Titan Aerospace to expand the reach of Project Loon. Social networking giant Facebook, meanwhile, launched the Connectivity Lab as part of its Internet.org initiative back in March.
The two companies are keen on delivering Internet access to regions of the world that aren’t yet connected. It’s a noble effort at first glance but at the end of the day, it all comes down to expanding their reach and business opportunities. Simply put, more people online means more potential customers and more revenue.
As is par for the course, the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.