Google Bags Titan Aerospace, Will Utilize It For Internet Expansion, Disaster Relief
In a bold but likely move, Google has acquired Titan Aerospace, which builds solar powered atmospheric satellites, which was previously rumored to be in talks with Facebook for a possible buyout.
“It’s still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring Internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation,”, is what the Google spokesperson stated to AFP about the purpose of this acquisition.
The amount that changed hands for this deal is still not disclosed by Google. However the Facebook deal was supposedly worth $60 million.
Let’s get you introduced. Titan Aerospace is a privately held venture in New Mexico. The company is the manufacturer of ‘atmosats’ or atmospheric satellites which functions as an orbiting satellite, however, costs only a fraction of the price needed to build orbital satellites. It can fly as high as 20KM above the sea surface and theoretically be there for 5 years without needing to land or refueling. Those can be used for weather monitoring, disaster recovery, earth imaging, or communications. And this makes a case for the deal.
The company has different models that can carry different payloads to the sub atmospheric regions while some are even capable of flying in a single spot.
The satellites operate outside the FAA regulated zone, so the launch is the only issue that might be a slight hiccup. However the regions and countries it intends to operate has different rules to handle those regulations. It would take some time to comment more on this.
Google’s Loon project will get a boost with this acquisition, which the internet giant can use to provide internet to otherwise disconnected areas.
It is still unclear how they will use the drones in their Loon project. However possibilities can be to use them in areas where balloons can’t reach for environmental or other constraints. Late in March, Facebook, who is also keen on spreading the internet to areas still disconnected from the web, has announced its acquisition of Ascenta, a British firm headed by Andrew Cox, for approximately £12.5million.
The deal comes at a significant time, when the two internet giants are battling for the untapped opportunities. Two third of the world population is yet to experience internet, as traditional carriers can’t reach or yet to expand there. At this moment, whoever reaches the market first, will have an early advantage. It will be interesting to see who beats the competition.
Interesting times ahead for sure especially with Google and Facebook making such interesting acquisitions.