Our friend in the sky?


Our friend in the sky?

After conquering cyberspace, Google is now looking to actual space, by acquiring satellite maker startup Skybox for $500M. Unlike other companies that build satellites like Digital Globe and Airbus, Skybox specializes in creating low-cost, smaller satellites approximately the size of a mini refrigerator. Skybox’s satellites are equipped with high definition cameras that can deliver a massive volume of high-resolution images. They’re also the first to make images taken from space available to the mass market. Last November, Skybox sent its first satellite SkySat-1 into orbit onboard a Russian Dnepr rocket.

By having real time access to high quality satellite images and videos, Google will look to improve its Google Maps and Google Earth products. Over time, Google also hopes that Skybox’s technology will be able to help its Loon project, a global network of high-altitude balloons that can bring Internet to areas in the world where there’s none. This all sounds very altruistic, but with greater visibility than ever before, Google will no doubt have access to images and information that consumers, governments and corporations may well wish they didn’t.

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