Google Just Bought a Drone Company That Facebook Passed On

The purchase is part of the tech giant’s project to bring the Internet to the developing world.

National Journal
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Alex Brown
April 14, 2014, 10:26 a.m.

Google and Face­book are tak­ing their fight for In­ter­net dom­in­a­tion from the air­waves to the air­space.

Google an­nounced Monday it’s buy­ing Ti­tan Aerospace, a drone maker that not long ago was slated to be pur­chased by Face­book (Face­book ended up buy­ing a U.K.-based drone com­pany).

Both com­pan­ies are try­ing to ex­pand their reach in­to the world of users who don’t cur­rently have In­ter­net — get there first and you can get them hooked on your products.

The pur­chase price for the Google deal was not an­nounced, but Ti­tan’s near-deal with Face­book was re­por­ted to be $60 mil­lion.

Ti­tan’s sol­ar-powered drones can fly for five years at a time, gath­er­ing sol­ar power with their wings. At 65,000 feet, the com­pany says its “cell towers in the sky” of­fer the range of 100 ground-based towers and can provide In­ter­net faster than most broad­band.

The drones will join Google’s Pro­ject Loon, which plans to use bal­loons to send In­ter­net sig­nals to the de­vel­op­ing world.

In ad­di­tion, the drones can provide high-res­ol­u­tion ima­ging, which Google may use for its maps. The com­pany also noted po­ten­tial uses for its drones could in­clude dis­aster re­lief and en­vir­on­ment­al mon­it­or­ing.


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