Google buys satellite firm Skybox Imaging for $500m

Satellite image of Omaha beach Skybox Imaging's satellites capture quality colour imagery of areas such as Omaha Beach, pictured here

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Google confirmed it has purchased satellite firm Skybox Imaging for $500m (£300m).

"[Skybox's] satellites will help keep our maps accurate with up-to-date imagery," said Google in a statement.

It also said Skybox's satellites could be used to help expand internet access.

Founded in 2009, Skybox's satellites offer video images and stills at a resolution of just over 1m per pixel - which can track single cars travelling along a road.

The firm sent its first high-resolution satellite, SkySat-1, in to space last December.

It circles the Earth around 16 times a day, relaying 90-second black-and-white clips, permitting analysis of movement on Earth.

Skybox has said it plans to launch a total of 24 satellites.

Google's purchase of the satellite maker follows its acquisition of solar-powered drone maker Titan Aerospace in April.

The search engine giant and other technology firms, such as Facebook, are currently engaging in efforts to improve internet access globally through drones, balloons, and satellites.

The deal is still subject to approval and closing conditions.

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