Google said on Tuesday it had bought Skybox Imaging, a company that provides high-resolution photos using satellites, for $500 million in cash.

Google explained the deal as such: “Their satellites will help keep our 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.”

Skybox provides sub-meter images as well as 90-second videos from its network of small satellites. It points them at specific spots to provide analytics about how they change over time. Applications listed on its website include monitoring agriculture for the purpose of identifying pest infestations, modeling insurance by checking in on assets, informing commodity traders with updates about oil storage, and tracking ships and container activity in ports to analyze supply chains.

So yeah, those cameras up in the sky can see quite a lot.

Word of talks between the companies had first been reported by The Information.

Skybox had raised $91 million from investors including Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Asset Management Ventures, CrunchFund, Canaan Partners and Norwest Venture Partners.

Google warned that the deal price would be “subject to adjustments” and that the acquisition still needs regulatory approval.




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