Google heads into space with futuristic acquisitions

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There’s been a couple of intriguing stories over the last 24 hours that all point towards one thing… Google is heading for the stars!

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First up, last night it was announced that the company has bought Skybox Imaging, a “start up” that is working on small satellites capable of taking very high resolution photos. So far the company has launched one of them – with the intention to launch more. How much did Google pay? A cool $500m.

The reason Google might want Skybox is pretty obvious: Google Maps. If Google has its own satellites, it should be able to update the space imagery much more regularly.

Apparently there’s a secondary motive too: if Google has satellites covering the globe, it could bring satellite internet access to parts of the world that are currently unconnected.

The other big money move has been talks to invest in Virgin Galactic – the space travel arm of Richard Branson’s empire. According to Sky News the two companies have been talking for months about Google making a “small equity stake”… though that really translates to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Why would Google want to do this? Well, aside from the fact that spaceships are cool… wouldn’t the ability to launch stuff into space be useful if you have a bunch of satellites you want to get up there?

Whatever happens, one thing is clear: Google clearly see space as the next big thing. The, umm, the final frontier if you will…

James O’Malley