Search engine giant Google Inc. (GOOG) is in talks to buy Skybox Imaging Inc., a satellite company that specializes in recording very detailed landscape pictures and video, for about $1 billion, TechCrunch reported citing people familiar with the matter. The acquisition reportedly will enable the company to use Skybox's technology to improve its Google Maps and Google Earth services. The imagery company, whose initial business plan was written in 2009, has a team of more than 100 people. Skybox has designed satellites to capture images and deliver them to customers with details down to less than a meter according to its website. Targeted industries include agriculture, mining and insurance. Currently, Google uses a mixture of sources for Google Earth, the real-world imaging component of Google Maps. Some of those images are more up to date than others, and some are years out of date. Having its own primary source of data, updated regularly, would provide a more reliable and accurate set of data that Google could potentially expand into more consumer-focused products and services.
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