It’s a drone-buying spree, and Google is the latest to make a purchase.
It reportedly just agreed to purchase high-altitude drone maker Titan Aerospace for an unspecified amount.
The search (and tons of other technologies) giant said today that it will be purchasing the company, whose drones are solar-powered and intended to fly for years.
The deal is interesting, too, because Facebook was allegedly in talks last month to purchase the company, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Facebook ended up settling on a purchase of Ascenta, a U.K.-based maker of solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles, for $20 million.
Google said the Titan team will be working closely with its Project Loon, which is building high-altitude balloons to bring Internet connection to areas of the world that are not currently online. The team might also work with Makani, an early-stage project that is building an airborne turbine that would hopefully generate energy more efficiently, according to the report.
Titan claims that its drones can deliver Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second (much faster than speeds currently available in most developed countries), and that it expects “initial commercial operations” in 2015.
Titan’s technology could also help with other Google businesses such as its Maps division. Along with supporting voice and data services, Titan drones will be able to collect real-time, high-resolution images of the earth.
Facebook and Google have also been battling it out in the developing world. Google’s inexpensive Android phones are highly popular around the globe.
Facebook, while it doesn’t have a hand in the hardware game, is nevertheless attempting to gain ground. Its “Facebook for Every Phone” initiative brings a version of Facebook optimized for cheap feature phones. Another project, Facebook Zero, is a stripped down version of its mobile website Facebook launched in partnership with mobile operators that don’t charge fees when the service is used.
Google and Facebook are now taking their war up into the sky, vying to provide potential new users not only with affordable devices and mobile services, but also access to the Internet itself.