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A satellite is worked on in Skybox Imaging’s facilities in Mountain View, Calif.

A satellite is worked on in Skybox Imaging’s facilities in Mountain View, Calif.

Google agreed on June 10, 2014, to buy Skybox Imaging, a satellite imagery provider, as the technology giant continues its lofty ambitions for its Internet offerings.

Initially, Skybox will help improve Google’s dominant mapping service. But over time, the five-year-old start-up and its ability to launch relatively cheap satellites could aid a bigger Google goal: expanding its Internet service offerings. The tech titan already is exploring using other novel methods, including balloons and drones, to provide online access, especially to people in sparsely populated locations.

“Their satellites will help keep our maps accurate with up-to-date imagery,” a representative for Google 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.”

Image courtesy of Matt McDonald.

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