Skybox Announcement Logo_smGoogle says it will pay $500 million in cash for Skybox Imaging, using the company’s satellites and related technology to improve its Google Maps service.

The deal was announced by the search company a few minutes ago.

In a post about the news, Skybox says, “We’ve built and launched the world’s smallest high­-resolution imaging satellite, which collects beautiful and useful images and video every day. We have built an incredible team and empowered them to push the state­-of­-the-­art in imaging to new heights. The time is right to join a company who can challenge us to think even bigger and bolder, and who can support us in accelerating our ambitious vision.”

In addition to boosting its mapping service, Google says it hopes to use Skybox’s technology to improve Internet access and disaster relief efforts around the world.

Rumors of the talks between the companies were originally reported by The Information. The deal is half of the $1 billion purchase price that TechCrunch’s sources had been expecting.

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