Google confirms Skybox purchase

<p>Skybox Imaging has been bought by Google for around £300 million.</p>

Google has confirmed it has completed the purchase of a satellite imaging company.

The company stated that it has paid around £500 million (£300 million) for Skybox Imaging, with the purchase being the latest in a line of recent acquisitions to have been completed by Google.

"[Skybox's] satellites will help keep our maps accurate with up-to-date imagery," said Google. "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."

Although a fee has been agreed between the two companies, the takeover process remains subject to customary closing conditions, such as the receipt of regulatory approvals in the US, before it can be formally completed.

Skybox was founded in 2009 and the company's satellites provide video images and stills at a resolution of more than one million pixels, which means they are capable of tracking a moving car along a road.

Self-driving cars

The purchase of Skybox may be tied in to Google's ongoing work with self-driving cars. The technology company recently revealed a prototype model of the vehicles, which it is claimed may soon be seen on roads all over the world. It is likely these will eventually replace taxi cabs, but regulations in many countries will have to be assessed to see if they are permitted.

A statement on the Skybox website stated that the firm "was founded on the premise that an ability to better understand these phenomena could fundamentally change the way humanity makes decisions on a daily basis – increasing the profitability of businesses and improving the welfare of societies worldwide".

The company added that it sees global activity as "the world’s largest data science problem", an issue that led to it coining the term Earth Observation 2.0. Satellites are viewed as sensors that are able to collect information, although Skybox stresses this technology is all seen by the firm as "a means to an end".

It says: "We don’t design and build our own systems for fun (though it is). We do it because it gives us the flexibility to address your needs in the way that works best for you."

The share price of Google fell by 0.28 per cent on the Nasdaq in the US last night (June 10th).

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