Google Skybox lives! Now known as Terra Bella

JC Torres - Mar 8, 2016
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Google Skybox lives! Now known as Terra Bella

Remember Skybox, formerly and formally Skybox Imaging? Unless you've been keeping an eye on the satellite imaging biz the past years, you might have forgotten a bit about the company that Google acquired barely two years ago. The company, which is still under Google instead of its own entity under Alphabet, is still very much alive and is even gearing up for more action. But it is slightly changing its mission while still having its foot down on satellite imaging. And to set the mood for that new direction, it is also changing its name to "Terra Bella".

Until June 2014, satellite imaging was a rather contentious topic in the US. Certain regulations prohibited the recording and use of high quality, high resolution images, exactly the kind that Skybox Imaging was taking. Since then, the rules have been relaxed and Skybox was back in business, but under Google and with an eye towards improving the tech giant's Maps and Earth services.

But mapping was probably a bit too plain and boring for Skybox. It had a wealth of images at its disposal, ready to be used for more than just that singular purpose. Indeed, the "Skybox for Good" program utilized those maps for saving lives and forests. Building up on that, the new Terra Bella, which literally means "beautiful land", seeks to use the geospatial information it has harvested over the years for economic, social, and humanitarian purposes

Doing so, however, requires more than just having high quality satellite images. That's where being part of Google has advantages. Terra Bella plans on taking advantage of Google's wide number of resources, including machine learning and human experts, to transform its raw imaging data into information that such organizations need.

But what is the status of the company now. Terra Bella says that it has more than a dozen satellites in development to show off state-of-the-art satellite imaging. It hasn't, however, given a timetable when it plans to launch those.

SOURCE: Terra Bella