Google just bought satellite company Skybox Imaging.
It is paying $500 million in cash, “subject to adjustments.”
Skybox Imaging builds satellites and deploys data centers. It also records and provides access to detailed imagery and high-definition video of landscapes.
Google’s acquisition of Skybox Imaging makes sense for the search giant’s Google Maps and Google Earth offerings. Google now has access to the company’s high-quality, real-time photos and videos.
“Their satellites will help keep our maps accurate with up-to-date imagery,” Google said. “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.”
Meanwhile, Google may also see this potential acquisition as a way to bring Internet to the two-thirds of the population who don’t have it. Google has already announced Project Loon, a network of balloons to beam Internet access. Google also recently bought Titan Aerospace, a company that makes high-flying solar powered drones.
It seems that Google sees drones, balloons, and satellites as a means of beaming Internet connections around the world, and therefore expanding the reach of its service.
Skybox Imaging had previously raised $91 million in funding from Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Draper & Associates, Caanan Partners, CrunchFund, Norwest Venture Partners, and Asset Management Ventures.
Check out some of the images Google owns thanks to Skybox Imaging.
Here’s the full blog post from Skybox:
We’re thrilled to announce that Skybox Imaging has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Google!
Five years ago, we began the Skybox journey to revolutionize access to information about the changes happening across the surface of the Earth.
We’ve made great strides in the pursuit of that vision.
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.
We are who we are because of the incredible customers, partners, & advisors who have given their time, wisdom, resources & encouragement over the years. To the people who believed in us before anyone else, you know who you are. Thank you.
In addition, we wouldn’t be here without the unwavering support of our friends and family. This has been an incredible journey, and we look forward to working with our new Google family and the world at-large to write the next chapter.
We should point out that our agreement with Google, which is subject to customary approvals and closing conditions, hasn’t closed yet. So in the short term, it will continue to be business as usual at Skybox.
Onwards and Upwards!
The Skybox Team