Skip to main content

Google buying Skybox satellite firm to boost Maps and further Loon project

google buying skybox satellite firm boost maps imagery
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Google said Tuesday it’s set to acquire Skybox Imaging for $500 million.

The company uses relatively small and low-cost satellites to gather high-quality images that Google will use for Maps and Earth.

In a short statement posted on its website, the Web giant confirmed the agreed purchase, adding that “Skybox’s satellites will help keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery.”

It added that over time it hoped the technology will be able to help out with its plans to bring Internet access to remote locations around the world and help with disaster relief.

Skybox – like Google, based in Mountain View, California – said Tuesday that in its five-year history it had “built and launched the world’s smallest high­-resolution imaging satellite,” adding that the time was 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….to revolutionize access to information about the changes happening across the surface of the Earth.”

The acquisition complements Google’s April purchase of Titan Aerospace – a New Mexico-based company specializing in high-altitude drones – with both buyouts helping to further Google’s Project Loon balloon-based initiative, geared toward spreading Internet access across the globe.

Tuesday’s development also fits nicely with news that leaked last week revealing Google’s plan to launch hundreds of satellites as part of its Loon initiative. A network of satellites, drones and balloons could ultimately help Google to boost its ad-based revenue as the company brings more people online. And it’s not the only one with the idea – Facebook is also working on a similar project, with the social networking giant leading a group of big-name tech firms in a project to bring Internet access to unconnected locations around the world also using satellites and drones.

Google’s acquisition of Skybox is subject to customary approvals and closing conditions, both companies confirmed.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
It’s time to stop believing these PC building myths
Hyte's Thicc Q60 all-in-one liquid cooler.

As far as hobbies go, PC hardware is neither the cheapest nor the easiest one to get into. That's precisely why you may often run into various misconceptions and myths.

These myths have been circulating for so long now that many accept them as a universal truth, even though they're anything but. Below, I'll walk you through some PC beliefs that have been debunked over and over, and, yet, are still prevalent.
Liquid cooling is high-maintenance (and scary)

Read more
AMD’s next-gen CPUs are much closer than we thought
AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D held between fingertips.

We already knew that AMD would launch its Zen 5 CPUs this year, but recent motherboard updates hint that a release is imminent. Both MSI and Asus have released updates for their 600-series motherboards that explicitly add support for "next-generation AMD Ryzen processors," setting the stage for AMD's next-gen CPUs.

This saga started a few days ago when hardware leaker 9550pro spotted an MSI BIOS update, which they shared on X (formerly Twitter). Since then, Asus has followed suit with BIOS updates of its own featuring a new AMD Generic Encapsulated Software Architecture (AGESA) -- the firmware responsible for starting the CPU -- that brings support for next-gen CPUs (spotted by VideoCardz).

Read more
AMD Zen 5: Everything we know about AMD’s next-gen CPUs
The AMD Ryzen 5 8600G APU installed in a motherboard.

AMD Zen 5 is the next-generation Ryzen CPU architecture for Team Red and is slated for a launch sometime in 2024. We've been hearing tantalizing rumors for a while now and promises of big leaps in performance. In short, Zen 5 could be very exciting indeed.

We don't have all the details, but what we're hearing is very promising. Here's what we know about Zen 5 so far.
Zen 5 release date and availability
AMD confirmed in January 2024 that it was on track to launch Zen 5 sometime in the "second half of the year." Considering the launch of Zen 4 was in September 2022, we would expect to see Zen 5 desktop processors debut around the same timeframe, possibly with an announcement in the summer at Computex.

Read more