Google has officially sold off its satellite imaging division. The news was confirmed after an announcement from Planet, the rival imaging company that it will acquire Terra Bella from Google. Planet Labs will take over operation of Google’s seven high-resolution SkySat satellites as well. Once the deal closes, Google will start buying images for Google Earth and other products directly from Planet Labs.
In the year 2014, Google purchased Terra Bella, originally called Skybox Imaging for $500 million. Under Google’s wing, the company launched a constellation of sub-meter resolution satellites to give Google Maps a sharper focus.
Terms of the deal are not yet disclosed but as per the earlier reports in Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal, Alphabet (parent company of Google) will be getting equity stakes in Planet Labs.
“Also, few employees who were part of Terra Bella will join our team”, said Will Marshall, Co-founder & CEO of Planet Labs.
Marshall wrote on his blog that “We’ve long admired what the team at Terra Bella has achieved, and we think the SkySat constellation of 7 high-resolution satellites is highly complementary to Planet’s existing medium resolution 60-satellite fleet. The two systems under one roof will be truly unique and will enable valuable new capabilities.”
In the later half of this month, Planet is all set to launch a record- breaking 88 new Dove satellites, which will give Planet Labs ability to capture every corner of earth on daily basis.
With this acquisition, rapid business growth, and the largest launches yet for both Planet and Terra Bella scheduled for this year, this will no doubt be Planet’s most impactful year yet!