Google Ogles Skybox Imaging’s Fleet of Mini Satellites
Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) next big acquisition could be a California startup that utilizes microsatellites to deliver high-resolution imagery and video to its clients. The startup, Skybox Imaging Inc., was founded in 2009 and offers imagery, video, and analytics, along with a platform on which clients can view their data, according to TechCrunch.
The Information reports that Google is engaged early talks with Skybox, which is one among several small startups that launch microsatellites in order to sell high-quality imagery to businesses.
Earlier this year, Google expressed interested in Titan Aerospace, a startup that makes drones. It’s unclear how far talks with Titan progressed before Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) swept in to purchase the drone maker for a handy $60 million early last month, per CNBC.
Google’s interest is understandable, given the tech giant’s mapping ambitions. Services like Google Earth and Google Maps would benefit from a Skybox Imagining purchase, as the company would gain access to a fleet of satellites that would then allow it to gather images to further its effort to catalog and map the globe.
Facebook is interested in similar technology for an entirely different purpose. As one of the primary backers of Internet.org, Facebook is (presumably) interested in utilizing Titan’s drones in an effort to bring affordable Internet to areas of the globe where connectivity is still unavailable, TechCrunch reported last month.
Per a Mashable report, Google currently utilizes satellites from a number of different third-party providers through licensing agreements. Acquiring its own fleet of microsatellites would eliminate some of the need to source images from other entities.
“Skybox Imagining empowers global businesses to make better decisions with timely, high fidelity imagery and infinite analytics. By combining the power of web technologies and a constellation of high-resolution imaging satellites, Skybox is generating a unique data source describing daily global activity with timely, accessible, sub-meter color imagery and high definition video of the Earth,” according to the company’s LinkedIn homepage.
Skybox Imaging is currently backed by Canaan Partners and Northwest Venture Partners, and it has raised $91 million over the coarse of three rounds of funding since 2009. The company is currently seeking additional funding in an effort to increase development.