The cover of the Dec. 15 issue of Time features a familiar face — that of Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the star of a long feature by Lev Grossman, the bulk of which is devoted to Internet.org and Zuckerberg’s mission to connect the 4.3 billion or so people in the world who currently lack Internet access.
Facebook is looking for a few good men and women to build a few good drones.
Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg divided the social network’s portfolio of applications into three stages during the company’s first-quarter earnings call Wednesday afternoon, putting the flagship Facebook apps in the most mature category; followed by established offerings Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp; and capped by the fruits of its new Facebook Creative Labs initiative, such as iPhone app Paper.
The Internet is the ideal channel through which to publish and circulate photos and videos of atrocities, and it is a place where citizens can organize to better resist and overthrow their oppressors — that is, provided they can gain access to the Internet. Enter Facebook and Google, which are working independently on two similar projects to enable free, uncensored Internet access from the sky.
Those may have been the drones Facebook was looking for, but they now belong to Google. The Wall Street Journal reported that Google will acquire Titan Aerospace, a near-orbital, solar-powered drone manufacturer that the social network was reportedly in talks to acquire last month, with an eye toward using its Solara 60 unmanned aerial vehicles to help provide Internet access to unserved parts of the world, starting with Africa, as part of the Internet.org initiative.
Perhaps Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is just a wee bit excited about the Connectivity Lab, the initiative aimed at using high-altitude long-endurance planes, satellites, and lasers to help connect the rest of the world to the Internet. Zuckerberg followed up Thursday’s announcement on the Internet.org site, as well as his own post on Facebook, with a lengthy post (embedded below) offering a more detailed look at Connectivity Lab.
Facebook’s Connectivity Lab: Drones, Planes, Satellites, Lasers To Further Internet.org Mission Of Bringing Connectivity To The Whole World
Look, up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a drone from Facebook? The social network Thursday announced the formation of the Connectivity Lab, which is made up of experts who previously worked with U.K.-based Ascenta, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Ames Research Center, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.
No, Facebook drones will not be swooping down from the sky to deliver up-close-and-personal pokes, but according to a report by TechCrunch, the social network is in talks to acquire near-orbital, solar-powered drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace for $60 million, with the aim of using the drones to help bring Internet access to parts of the world currently lacking, starting with Africa, as part of its Internet.org initiative.