Google Absorbs EU Fine, Alphabet’s Other Bets Burn Money

Despite the impact of new European regulations, Google just reported sales and profit that exceeded analysts’ expectations. The Silicon Valley company’s shares hit an all-time high, rising 3.9 percent to $1,267 in after-hours trading. The result is proof that advertisers aren’t put off by European regulations or allegations that Google abuses its dominant position in the marketplace. Its parent company Alphabet, however, continues to see losses in its “Other Bets” category, which includes Waymo autonomous vehicles. Continue reading Google Absorbs EU Fine, Alphabet’s Other Bets Burn Money

Facebook Pulls the Plug on its Aquila Solar-Powered Aircraft

Facebook announced that it is grounding a solar-powered aircraft project it originally hoped would have used laser technology to help provide Internet access for underserved communities. In an effort to connect the nearly 4 billion people around the world who still do not have Internet access, the company has been working for several years from Bridgwater, UK on a high altitude platform station (HAPS) system called Aquila. Rather than continue to develop its own aircraft, however, Facebook has opted to partner with companies such as Airbus and close its facility in Bridgwater. Continue reading Facebook Pulls the Plug on its Aquila Solar-Powered Aircraft

Facebook in Talks with Foreign Nations to Begin Drone Trials

Several tech companies want to provide Internet access to developing nations via drones, satellites and balloons, but they all face obstacles, including getting approval to operate in foreign airspace and use radio spectrum to broadcast signals to the ground. Google already conducted its first tests of Project Loon, using high-altitude balloons, and OneWeb is at work on multiple satellites to deliver the Internet from space. Now Facebook is talking to several countries to create trial Internet broadcasts from drones. Continue reading Facebook in Talks with Foreign Nations to Begin Drone Trials

Rocket Explosion is a Setback for Facebook’s Internet Program

A Falcon 9 rocket designed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX exploded during a prelaunch test at Cape Canaveral yesterday, destroying a satellite and its payload that was scheduled to launch into orbit on Saturday. The accident marks a setback for Facebook’s effort to bring Internet access to the world. The satellite was a joint venture between the social giant and France’s Eutelsat Communications, part of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative to help get unconnected people online and lower the cost of Internet access. This particular satellite would have reached more than a dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Continue reading Rocket Explosion is a Setback for Facebook’s Internet Program

Tech Companies Target Developing Countries for Web Expansion

Despite attempts by tech companies to make the Internet more accessible to people around the world, especially to those living in developing countries, the Internet’s growth has been decelerating. Facebook and Google have both invested in technologies such as satellites, drones and high-altitude balloons to deliver global Web access. However promising these efforts have been, global Web access has proven to be more contingent on whether people deem the Internet useful in the first place.  Continue reading Tech Companies Target Developing Countries for Web Expansion

Google Invests in SpaceX to Push Worldwide Internet Access

SpaceX recently landed a $1 billion investment from Google and investment firm Fidelity. Google’s commitment to SpaceX is part of the company’s ambitious plan to facilitate Internet connectivity on a global scale in order to serve more areas of the world, reach consumers more directly, and ultimately get its products into more hands. In addition, Google has plans to offer a wireless service through deals with Sprint and T-Mobile, which could lead to rivals lowering their prices and improving connectivity speeds. Continue reading Google Invests in SpaceX to Push Worldwide Internet Access

Google’s Project Loon Advances, Balloons Are 10 Times Better

Google hopes to provide Internet access to unserved areas of the world using high-altitude balloons. When the company announced Project Loon a year ago many people were skeptical. Since then, Google announced that it has been able to extend balloon flight times and add mobile connectivity to the service. Recently, Loon has been providing as much as 22MB per second to a ground antenna and 5MB per second to a handset, success that suggests there will be ways to monetize the technology. Continue reading Google’s Project Loon Advances, Balloons Are 10 Times Better

Google, Facebook Look to Expand Reach of Internet Access

Led by Greg Wyler, founder of O3b Networks, Google’s plans to increase Internet access through satellites surge forward. In order to reach unwired regions, Google plans to spend an estimated $1 billion to $3 billion on a fleet of satellites. The project is expected to begin with 180 small, high-capacity satellites orbiting the earth at lower altitudes than traditional satellites. Both Google and Facebook are looking to increase revenue and earnings, and have pinpointed users in these remote regions to do so. Continue reading Google, Facebook Look to Expand Reach of Internet Access