Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., will no longer own the pictures that will be taken by its own fleet of satellites. The move comes as the tech giant prunes its businesses as investors push the company for more profits.
The Star reported that the Alphabet unit has decided to sell its satellite imaging business to Planet Labs. The satellite imaging business, known as Terra Bella, provides high-resolution Earth-observation satellite imagery. The pictures taken by Google's fleet of satellites are usually sold and used for commercial purposes.
The sale would mean that Google will no longer have the right to sell those images. After acquiring Terra Bella, Planet Labs will own any images taken by Google's SkySat constellation of satellites.
Scientists who previously worked for National Aeronautics and Space Administration formed Planet Labs, a San Francisco-based private satellite operator. Planet Labs is expected to be able to expand its customer base and product offering with the acquisition of Terra Bella, The Christian Science Monitor reported.
With the loss of the right to use the pictures taken by the SkySat constellation of satellites, Google now opted to buy Earth-imaging data from Planet Labs. This means that Planet Labs will be signing up the tech giant as one of its biggest clients, which could be a huge boon for the private satellite operator's business.
Planet Labs is buying Terra Bella for an undisclosed amount. However, it could only be larger than the $500 million that Google paid for Terra Bella and its constellation of seven high-resolution satellites back in 2014.
Google decides on the sale as it tries to alleviate the increasing pressure from investors who are pushing the tech giant to churn out more profit. The sale may also be part of the restructuring that its parent company, Alphabet, has been implementing since 2015.
Jobs & Hire previously reported that Google was setting up its self-driving automobile unit.