During the last half of the TWENTIETH century, the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union to compete for cosmic dominance lasted almost 20 years, until in the end the US became stronger. Once it reached the moon, the intensity of the conflict descended greatly, to such a level, that practically no one has been interested until today. For years, there were no defined rules or objectives, the only goal was to win the rival.
Today we are living a new career, but this time not between two countries, but between two technology companies in search of the conquest of the Internet.
This battle between Google and Facebook to reach the leadership on the Internet, is reminding us of those moments that lived between the years 60 and 70 of Cold War. The two Internet giants are investing in projects, technology and patents that will allow them to give internet access to millions of people around the world. It is still early to know who is going to win, but whatever happens, these advances will greatly benefit society.
First of all, let’s look at Google’s current efforts and its vision for global network access. Already in the year 2013, the company presented its ideas on the world wide Internet with the project “Loon“, which is still active to this day.
The plan is to install a series of hot-air balloons distributed throughout the planet, especially in areas of difficult access, so that they can function as repeaters and thus facilitate the connection to the network in the most remote places. Although for many the idea of a hot air balloon that allows to distribute the signal may seem silly, has already been tested with balloons in the air for more than 3 months and Internet connection speeds above the 25MB/second.
Although there are real limitations to the Loon project, Google intends to intensify its efforts in this project over the next few years. To do so, he recently acquired a specialist company in high-altitude drones called Titan Aerospace, with the intention of developing drones or drone to be used as provisioners or Global Internet Distributors.
Even more interesting are Google’s plans to launch a fleet of satellites in the near future. According to some recent news, it could make an investment of up to 3 million dollars for this project in the coming months. These satellites would be able not only to give access to remote areas, but also to areas where there is currently a connection, being able to be a rival of existing technology. Although it is still early to know how the project will develop, since it is still in planning phase, later this year we will have new news.
The rivalry between Google and Facebook is so obvious, that until the acquisition of Titan Aerospace by Google, Facebook also tried to get the company until the last moment. In addition, Mark Zuckerberg has recently launched a service called Internet.org, which takes advantage of existing mobile telephony networks to bridge the gap between parts of the world with mobile coverage, but without Internet access.
In a recent conference, Zuckerberg showed his clear plans to everyone: Facebook intends to launch a fleet of drones to fly over the atmosphere around the world and get basic Internet access directly To every corner of the globe.
Does that sound familiar? Well yes, just the same plans as Google. While the seeker is working on drones and satellites in outer space, Facebook is essentially making an investment to do the same and reach the same goal, conquer the distribution of the Internet in those areas Where it still does not arrive.
There are a number of factors that prevent each of these great players from advancing in the short term on these projects. They are completely new ideas, so the technological and logistical aspect is something that these giants of the technology have to continue investigating and little by little they discover new challenges for this type of Internet distribution at a global level.
In addition, we must add the legal complication that these types of projects present. As balloons, airplanes or other types of unmanned devices that fly over the airspace of different countries, it requires that international regulation be carried out. It is necessary to limit what is and is not allowed in the struggle for the conquest of the skies for the provision of services such as Internet or distribution, something that Amazon already said in its day and analyze in another article.
The two companies have similar plans and a clear goal, to provide universal access to the Internet. Google has covered its lack of technology in this area with the acquisition of Titan Aerospace and can begin its plans to launch a series of satellites soon.
Facebook, however, already has the radiant Internet technology that has presented in its project Internet.org, which gives an advantage in time against Google. This space race is very complex, especially taking into account the amount of details that these companies are analyzing in order to launch the service as soon as possible.
To this day, it is still very difficult to know who is going to win the competition by providing the Internet to everyone, but what we know is that the two companies are very close to launching the project at the same time in one or two years. What we have clear is that global access to the Internet can only be good for the development of humanity, so that people have more access to more resources, more information and a potential to develop and form. I’m sure it will be an interesting race to win.
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