The news that both Google and Facebook have spent billions of dollars buying up technology companies is not new.
Google has bought at least eight top robotics companies, spent masses of cash buying the artificial intelligence company Deepmind and acquired the high-altitude drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace.
Facebook, on the other hand, has bought Instagram, the photo sharing network, WhatsApp, a messaging company, Oculus VR, a virtual reality company and Ascenta, the aptly named company that creates high-altitude solar-powered drones that can stay airborne for weeks.
Conspiracy theorists might speculate that the drones are all about keeping tabs on you, but I think that the mission is simpler than that. There are still parts of the world that aren’t able to access the internet, and the two techno giants want a piece of that action.
While the legality of using drones for commercial purposes is currently on hold in the United States, which could make testing difficult, the FAA is hoping to have a regulatory framework in place by 2015.
That’s when Titan Aerospace has previously said its drones will be ready to deliver up to 1 gigabit per second internet connections, for up to five years at time, across 1,000 miles of remote countryside — each.
The Titan Aerospace team will work with Google’s existing Project Loon ballon team, as well as the Makani airborne wind turbine power company that Google acquired last year.