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.

Project Loon

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?

References:

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

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One response to “Battle to connect the world”

  1. 357312sz says :

    I would like to say something more about Project Loon because I was also very interested in this plan one year ago when I first read the news about the google x was going to do this.

    In my opinion, generally it is a marvelous idea/plan as you said in the post, how can this be for connecting the world. In addition, especially from google’s perspective it is also a very practical idea. Only when more people in the world are able to have access to internet, google is then possible to sell more advertisements, making more profits. Moreover, to integrate the information worldwide and let every people benefit from it are the virtue that google consistently has and always try to chase for. Therefore, for the mission and business benefits, it is able to do this plan.

    However, I have to say the drawbacks I found for this plan outweigh the potential benefits. Even google claimed that it may use complicated algorithms and a lot of advanced computing technology to manage and control the round route of balloons but the possibility of accidents cannot be neglected or reduced. Once the balloons drop back to the ground, the loss cannot be calculated and also the environmental pollution cannot be quantified. Also, at least for now, how to recycle the fallen balloons or ballon parts is still a big issue. The second threat is the one people always concerning, – the privacy.
    Actually it is not a pure-technology project, it is quite costly which needs the help of cross-countries, careers and even governments of different countries. We will see how this project goes on, whether it can have different or more worldwide partners/volunteers to support google, to share the risks and enlarge the benefits.

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