While all eyes have been focused on E3, Google’s been busy: the Internet giant is acquiring Skybox Imaging for $500 million. Skybox is a pretty big deal – they build satellites, deploys data centers and provides high fidelity satellite imagery and analytics. They’ve thus far got one satellite operational and were apparently planning to launch a network of 24 satellites. This is Google’s second acquisition of a high-profile aerospace company in 2014 – the first was Titan Aerospace, the maker of solar powered drones, in April.
We believe this first acquisition ties in to their deployment of a network of balloons to deliver Internet access. Skybox’s tech is squarely in the Maps department. Both could be a possible response to Facebook’s announcement in March, where the social networking firm announced their “Connectivity lab”, where they intended to develop satellites, tool and technology to spread Internet access all over the world. After all, Google didn’t get to where it was by letting other companies outpace it. Google also has their extensive disaster relief efforts, one of which we saw in action when Hurricane Sandy hit.Skybox claims to have the world’s smallest high-resolution imaging satellite, and they’re the first to have captured HD video from space (see video above). They’d previously raised $91 million in funding from a number or outfits – namely, Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Draper & Associates, Caanan Partners, CrunchFund, Norwest Venture Partners, and Asset Management Ventures – and to judge by the Skybox blog, they’re absolutely thrilled to be apart of Google. Who wouldn’t be, really?