Why Google is buying Skybox

A sign is posted in front of the Skybox Imaging headquarters on June 10, 2014 in Mountain View, California.
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Google's $500 million purchase of satellite maker Skybox could have a dramatic impact on the amount—and quality—of information the search giant is able to accumulate, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Skybox produces small satellites that orbit 185 miles above the planet. What makes them different from similar devices?

By 2016, the company expects to be able to take pictures of the entire Earth twice a day, at a level of detailed resolution that was until last week illegal.

Says the WSJ story:

By the time its entire fleet of 24 satellites has launched in 2018, Skybox will be imaging the entire Earth at a resolution sufficient to capture, for example, real-time video of cars driving down the highway. And it will be doing it three times a day.

The potential goldmine is not just the satellite imagery, but the software that analyzes and makes sense of the data being complied. Analyzed data can include crop yields, oil drilling and even traffic in mall parking lots.

Skybox once told a Wired Magazine reporter that the company could one day become an "unreasonably profitable hedge fund."

The full story is at WSJ.

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