Google is leaving planet Earth. The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday afternoon reported that Google has reached a deal that will see it acquire Skybox Imaging for $500 million. Discussions between the two companies had previously been reported by The Information. Skybox operates a number of satellites that it uses to capture ultra high-resolution photos of Earth, and it is believed that Google will use the satellites’ capabilities to capture Google Earth imagery of areas that were previously not accessible.
UPDATE: Google has confirmed the deal, and said that Skybox will help ensure Google Maps imagery is kept current. The company also said that Skybox’s team and technology may “help improve Internet access and disaster relief” in the future. Here’s the full release:
Google and Skybox Imaging Sign Acquisition Agreement
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – JUNE 10, 2014— Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to buy Skybox Imaging for $500 million in cash, subject to adjustments.
Skybox’s satellites will help keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery. 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.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals in the US.