Google has acquired satellite startup SkyBox Imaging for $500 million in an all cash deal. The two companies have been in talks for the past few months discussing terms and it this is one of many deals Google will ink for satellite companies this year.
SkyBox Imaging offers high-resolution satellite images for companies and builds the whole interface, including the satellite, code and data center. This might have hedged the deal more Google’s way, considering they also tend to make the whole package instead of one part of the system.
Google will put SkyBox Imaging to work redeveloping Google Maps images to look more up-to-date and accurate, but the long term goal is to get SkyBox Imaging’s satellites offering Internet access to those currently disconnected from the Web.
Offering Internet access for the next four billion is one of Google’s many moonshot goals and SkyBox Imaging has built some of the smallest satellites that can transmit data to smartphone users down below at a decent speed.
Originally, Google CEO Larry Page complained that satellites are too expensive and claimed Project Loon would be the cheap alternative for developing nations, offering Internet access in zones that previously have had very little or none.
In a statement made by SkyBox Imaging, the startup said they wanted “to join a company who can challenge us to think even bigger and bolder, and who can support us in accelerating our ambitious vision.” This might mean even bigger projects in the near future, while getting integrated with the Google teams.
More acquisitions from Google will be incoming surrounding satellites and Internet. Robots were a big feature of late 2013 with Google acquiring around six startups, now it looks like they have turned their attention to satellites with Titan Aerospace and now SkyBox Imaging, two prominent startups attracting a lot of attention.