Battle to connect the world
Two of the largest tech companies out there, Google and Facebook, are experimenting with ways to connect even the most remote places in the world to the Internet. Google plans to launch so called “Internet balloons” in the stratosphere to connect people in remote places, Facebook plans to use drones for the same purpose. According to the UN (2014) approximately 40% of the world’s population is currently connect to the Internet. Connecting the remaining 60% could unlock entirely new markets for both these companies so its no surprise that both companies started investing in this.
Google’s “Project Loon” plans to launch a network of Internet balloons in the stratosphere, that form a network with each other and with Project Loon transmitters on the ground. By using solar power these balloons are able to stay in the sky for up to 100 days, travelling around the globe in that time.
For a more detailed explanation of Google’s Project Loon, check out this video:
Yet, Google recently also bought a company well-known for its technology that enables jet-sized drones to stay in the sky for years without landing (Barr and Albergotti, 2014).
Facebook’s internet drones
Facebook is experimenting with the use of drones to provide Internet to remote places. Facebook does this in co-operation with various other tech-companies like Samsung through their Internet.org initiative. Facebook’s Yael Maguire, the engineering director of Facebook’s Connectivity Lab stated “It’s going to be an enormous effort. Trying to connect everyone is the problem of our generation.”
For a more detailed explanation of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative, check out this video:
Obviously, both these companies profit from enlarging the “connected” part of the world as these newly connected people are a potential new customer base.
Who do you think will be the first to actually launch its project successfully and live up to its expectations? Do you think that this actually the problem of our generation as stated by Facebook’s Yael Maguire?
Barr, A., & Albergotti, R. (2014, April 14). Google to Buy Titan Aerospace as Web Giants Battle for Air Superiority. Retrieved September 25, 2014, from http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304117904579501701702936522
Lapowsky, I. (14, September 21). Facebook Lays Out Its Roadmap for Creating Internet-Connected Drones | WIRED. Retrieved September 25, 2014, from http://www.wired.com/2014/09/facebook-drones-2/
United Nations. Internet well on way to 3 billion users, UN telecom agency reports. (2014, May 5). Retrieved September 25, 2014, from http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47729#.VCQUwy6Sxup