Facebook’s Drones And The Battle For The Sky

Facebook’s Drones And The Battle For The Sky

Facebook’s Drones And The Battle For The Sky

facebook-logo

Back in early March we published an article that reviewed some of the lesser-known facts about Google Loon, a project that aims to use helium-filled weather balloons floating 20 miles above the surface of the earth to provide internet to some of the world’s 4.2 billion people without an internet connection.

After the initial test results proved positive other companies took note. This culminated in a press release by Facebook on 27th March that they also intended to launch a project that aims to provide affordable internet access to every person in the world.

Internet.Org

Internet.Org is a partnership between Facebook, Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera Software, and Qualcomm. Launched in August 2013, Facebook’s drone-based internet will use Internet.Org as the foundation for its introduction.

The partnership has already seen success in its efforts to bring free mobile internet to the developing world. It has conducted trials with two mobile carriers, Globe in the Philippines and Tigo in Paraguay, and both carriers have at least doubled the number of their customers using mobile data services.

Titan Aerospace

Titan Aerospace makes solar-powered drones that fly at heights of up to 20km above sea level. The company says its drones could fly for years at a time thanks to solar panels on the aircrafts’ wings – a fact that made it an attractive potential acquisition for Facebook when they were looking for a technology on which to base their connectivity dreams.

The potential of the company is so valuable that it became the centre of a Facebook vs Google bidding war. In early March TechCrunch reported that Facebook was on the verge of closing a $60 million deal to buy the New Mexico start-up, but in mid-April The Wall Street Journal revealed that Google had won the battle, concluding an agreement to purchase the company for an undisclosed amount. Titan Aerospace confirmed the news on their own website the following day.

Drones vs. Balloons

Google’s Project Loon has been met with derision in some quarters. Bill Gates was highly critical of the project last summer, using an interview with Bloomberg to state that the project “won’t uplift the poor”. He noted that internet won’t help solve core issues in developing countries, adding that the firm should be doing more to help the poor. “They hired Larry Brilliant [the former director of Google’s charitable arm Google.org], and they got fantastic publicity. And then they shut it all down”, he said.

Zuckerberg himself used the 2014 Mobile World Congress to argue that Project Loon is not the best solution to connecting more of the globe to the internet. He claims more than 80% of the world live somewhere with 2G or 3G internet access and that the really challenge was, therefore, reducing data costs.

Google naturally argue against both Zuckerberg and Gates. They say that Project Loon will help the poverty-stricken areas connect to the web without having to pay for complex infrastructure, and add that the system could also potentially help in the aftermath of a natural disaster in such areas.

Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about Facebook’s initiative you can read their research paper, titled “Connecting the World from the Sky”, or head to Internet.Org’s webpage dedicated to the project where they have an informative video.

What do you think? Whose idea is better – Google or Facebook? Can either of the plans achieve their stated aims? Are they really done for altruistic reasons or is it a commercial ploy to break into developing markets? Let us know in the comments below.

By Daniel Price

About Daniel Price

Daniel is a Manchester-born UK native who has abandoned cold and wet Northern Europe and currently lives on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. A former Financial Consultant, he now balances his time between writing articles for several industry-leading tech (CloudTweaks.com & MakeUseOf.com), sports, and travel sites and looking after his three dogs.

Find out more
View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

E-Commerce Advances For Savvy Marketers

E-Commerce Advances For Savvy Marketers

Digital Marketing Platforms Advertising and marketing techniques have progressed rapidly in the last decade with both channel focus and the direction of content shifting considerably due primarily to advances in cloud technology. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce 2016 singles out a few ecommerce providers who are topping their sector in both ability to execute…

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Energy Battle

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Energy Battle

By David Fletcher Please feel free to share our comics via social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest. Clear attribution (Twitter example: via@cloudtweaks) to our original comic sources is greatly appreciated.

Recent Articles - Posted by
Cloud Comings and Goings

Cloud Comings and Goings

Cloud Power Amazon Web Services – the giant of cloud computing – is on track to do $10 Billion in revenue this year. Yet, rumors swirl that Apple may take a huge chunk of business away from them and Dropbox has definitely left AWS. Is something wrong at AWS? Wait, Salesforce.com (SFDC) – the granddaddy of…

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation Digital transformation is the acceleration of business activities, processes, and operational models to fully embrace the changes and opportunities of digital technologies. The concept is not new; we’ve been talking about it in one way or another for decades: paperless office, BYOD, user experience, consumerization of IT – all of these were stepping…

Connecting the Digital Dots with the Internet of Things

Connecting the Digital Dots with the Internet of Things

The IoT Explosion In The Cross-Industry Category Gartner estimates that 6.4 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be in use in 2016, nearly a third more than last year, and with attentive patrons such as Samsung, recently committing to invest $1.2 billion into IoT research in the US over four years, we can happily…

Four Reasons Why CIOs Must Transform IT Into ITaaS To Survive

Four Reasons Why CIOs Must Transform IT Into ITaaS To Survive

CIOs Must Transform IT The emergence of the Cloud and its three delivery models of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) has dramatically impacted and forever changed the delivery of IT services. Cloud services have pierced the veil of IT by challenging traditional method’s dominance…

Cloud Computing – A Requirement For Greater Innovation

Cloud Computing – A Requirement For Greater Innovation

Cloud Computing Innovation Sao Paulo, Brazil has had trouble with both energy and water supplies as of late. Despite it is the rainy period. Unfortunately Sao Paulo is very dependent on its rain as a majority of its power is generated from large dams. No water, no energy. Difficult situation for a city of some…

Unusual Clandestine Cloud Data Centre Service Locations

Unusual Clandestine Cloud Data Centre Service Locations

Unusual Clandestine Cloud Data Centre Service Locations Everyone knows what the cloud is, but does everybody know where the cloud is? We try to answer that as we look at some of the most unusual data centre locations in the world. Under the Eyes of a Deity Deep beneath the famous Uspenski Cathedral in the…

The Questions of Privacy In The Internet of Things Revolution

The Questions of Privacy In The Internet of Things Revolution

Privacy in the Internet of Things Revolution The Internet of Things (IoT) has been promising a lot to consumers for a few years and now we’re really starting to see some of the big ideas come to fruition, which means an ever-growing conversation around data security and privacy. Big data comes with big responsibilities and…

Cloud Infographic – Interesting Big Data Facts

Cloud Infographic – Interesting Big Data Facts

Big Data Facts You Didn’t Know The term Big Data has been buzzing around tech circles for a few years now. Forrester has defined big data as “Technologies and techniques that make capturing value from data at an extreme scale economical.” The key word here is economical. If the costs of extracting, processing, and making use…

Consequences Of Combining Off Premise Cloud Storage and Corporate Data

Consequences Of Combining Off Premise Cloud Storage and Corporate Data

Off Premise Corporate Data Storage Cloud storage is a broad term. It can encompass anything from on premise solutions, to file storage, disaster recovery and off premise options. To narrow the scope, I’ve dedicated the focus of today’s discussion to the more popular cloud storage services—such as Dropbox, Box, OneDrive—which are also known as hosted,…

Infographic: The Evolving Internet of Things

Infographic: The Evolving Internet of Things

Evolving Internet of Things  The Internet of Things, or IoT, a term devised in 1999 by British entrepreneur Kevin Ashton, represents the connection of physical devices, systems and services via the internet, and Gartner and Lucas Blake’s new infographic (below) explores the evolution of the IoT industry, investigating its potential impact across just about every…