Google has agreed to pay US$500 million to acquire Skybox Imaging, a provider of high-quality satellite images, as part of its efforts to expand its internet service offerings, the New York Times reported.
Initially, the deal will help improve Google’s mapping service, although the technology giant appears to have loftier goals for the five-year-old start-up, which can launch relatively cheap satellites, the report said.
Google is already exploring the use of new methods — including balloons and drones — to provide online access, especially to people in sparsely populated locations.
“Their satellites will help keep our maps accurate with up-to-date imagery,” a Google spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday. “Over time, we also hope that Skybox’s team and technology will be able to help improve internet access and disaster relief — areas Google has long been interested in.”
Mountain View, California-based Skybox said in a corporate blog: “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.”
Founded in 2009 by four Stanford business school students, Skybox aims to launch more and cheaper satellites than traditional industry players who focus on high-end offerings. The company also offers high-resolution imaging services.
It launched its first satellite, SkySat-1, in November last year, the report said.
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