Google is always on the look out for startups to buy. Over the years, it has acquired many startups, some for getting access to their projects, others for their money and yet others for their skills for working on secret projects at Google X Labs.
Looks Small, but isn’t
Google has announced that it is buying Skybox, a startup that specializes in satellite imaging, for 500 million dollars. While that may seem puny compared to Facebook’s mammoth 19 billion dollar acquisition of Whatsapp, it is still a lot of money exchanging hands.
“We’ve agreed to acquire Skybox and we look forward to welcoming them to Google. Their satellites will help keep our maps accurate with up-to-date imagery.” writes Google.
“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.”, writes Skybox.
What will it do?
It isn’t yet completely clear what Skybox will do at Google. While Google has confirmed to Recode that Skybox is there to improve upon Google Maps’ accuracy, there still is the possibility of Skybox’s satellite making tech being used for a secret project.
“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.”, says Google.
Then there is the rumor of Skybox making around 180 satellites for launching via a partnership with Virgin Galactic, for the purpose of getting internet to “the next billion”.
Has come far
Google has been showing increasing interest towards the skies, with its ambitious Balloon project for bringing internet to all, its acquisition of drone-maker Titan Aerospace and now this. It is hard to imagine that Google was a mere blip on the Map when it first was established, all the way back in 1998 .
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