Google has acquired Skybox Imaging for $500 million, the company that built and launched the world's smallest, high-resolution imaging satellite. Now, Google could use Skybox to launch their own satellites. Having direct access to these satellites will allow Google access to the most remote parts of the world and the high resolution images could make a major difference for Google Maps in hard to reach areas.
Skybox is based in Mountain View, California, only a mile and a half from Google's headquarters. They have been around for five years, led by Tom Ingersoll. In a blog post, Skybox said for right now, "it will continue to be business as usual at Skybox." Until Google starts using them to launch their own satellites, that is.
The deal is still subject to regulatory approval from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Federal Communications Commission