Feeds

Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace

Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Updated Web giant Google is buying Titan Aerospace, presumably to help it blanket the world in internet connectivity beamed from drones and balloons.

The acquisition was reported by the WSJ on Monday, and will see the Titan Aerospace team work with Google's "Project Loon" group which makes high-altitude balloons for dispensing cheap internet to rural areas.

Titan Aerospace makes solar-powered drones that fly at heights of up to 19.8km above sea level. The New Mexico startup says its drones may be able to fly continuously for years at a time thanks to rechargeable batteries fed by solar panels on the aircrafts' wings, but it has not demonstrated this yet.

The company was previously wooed by the internet's other big advertizing kahuna: Facebook. At the time, the Mark Zuckerberg-run social network was reportedly keen to snap up 11,000 Solara 60 drones from Titan Aerospace for its own world-spanning internet project.

Facebook instead ended up hiring a team from UK high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft company Ascenta to develop similar technology, as it seeks to build out its own private global internet network. In a subsequent white paper, the social network's boss Mark Zuckerberg wrote that he thought drones, not Loon-style balloons, were the best bet for covering the world's rural areas in internet.

Now it seems that Google has come around to the same point of view. Some of the projects Titan Aerospace's team could be put to work on include data gathering to support Google Maps, systems to support far-flung voice and data services, and more.

This acquisition follows Google's buy of a spread of robot companies last year to help it develop technologies for airborne data gathering, factory work, and automobile logistics. It also bought Boston Dynamics, which made killer robots for DARPA. [Google's press team has been rather quiet about that part as the company's "Don't be evil" slogan looks a bit odd if plastered on the side of a killer military robot.—Ed].

With Titan Aerospace, Google has taken one step closer to the creation of our [Berserk—Ed.] suspected GATAMAM system.

For unfamiliar readers, a GATAMAM is a Google All Terrain Automated Mapper and Analyzer and Manipulator, which the ad company will use to slurp in vast amounts of data to support its services, while doling out connectivity and local services as well.

At the time of writing Google had not responded to a request for further information. ®

Update

Shortly after noon Pacific Time, Titan Aerospace updated its website with the news that the WSJ's report was indeed correct. "We're thrilled to announce that Titan Aerospace is joining Google," they write.

"At Titan Aerospace, we're passionate believers in the potential for technology (and in particular, atmospheric satellites) to improve people's lives. It's still early days for the technology we're developing, and there are a lot of ways that we think we could help people, whether it's providing internet connections in remote areas or helping monitor environmental damage like oil spills and deforestation. That's why we couldn't be more excited to learn from and work with our new colleagues as we continue our research, testing and design work as part of the Google family."

At about the same time, a Google spokesman emailed us: "Titan Aerospace and Google share a profound optimism about the potential for technology to improve the world," he wrote in part. "It's why we're so excited to welcome Titan Aerospace to the Google family."

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.