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Google Bought a Satellite Startup to Make Maps, Not Internet Connections

The battle for the sky continues. Google has spent $500 million to buy Skybox Imaging, a company that uses small satellites to transmit high-resolution images from space. Tuesday’s announcement comes only two months after Google acquired Titan Aerospace, which beams Internet signals from high-altitude drones. In March, meanwhile, Facebook spent $20 million on Ascenta, another drone maker.

Google plans to use Skybox’s satellites to make better maps with “up-to-date imagery,” the company said in a statement. “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.”