Faster, leaner, smaller — no, it’s not an advertisement for a gym, but rather, a description of the changes Facebook has made to its flagship Android application with an eye toward making it more accessible worldwide, including in areas that are still reliant on older networks and devices.
As soon as the ink dried on Facebook’s acquisition of messaging application WhatsApp, industry leaders questioned whether the social network overpaid with its $19 billion buy. So why did Facebook do it? WhatsApp Co-Founder Brian Acton discussed how the company can help Facebook in the future at an event in Palo Alto, Calif., Wednesday night, hosted by Stanford University-spawned startup incubator StartX.
Facebook’s latest acquisition is aimed at furthering the global-connectivity goal of its Internet.org initiative, as Finland-based Pryte – which is focused on allowing mobile users in less-developed parts of the world to use applications — announced that its team would be joining the social network.
As part of its 25th-anniversary celebration, CNBC compiled the “CNBC First 25: Rebels, Icons & Leaders” list of the 25 people “who have had the greatest influence, sparked the biggest changes, and created the most disruption in business over the past quarter century.” A familiar name appeared at No. 8: Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
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.
Virtual reality will soon be actual reality at Facebook, as the social network announced its acquisition of immersive virtual reality technology company Oculus VR — maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset — in a deal worth about $2 billion.
Vivek Wadhwa, a research professor at Stanford University, published a diatribe on LinkedIn a few months ago titled, “Facebook Is Doomed.” Contributing to the debate on the medium- and long-term sustainability of one of the biggest social networks is undoubtedly a healthy endeavor. However, this excessive public statement distinguishes itself with rather frivolous arguments on Wadhwa’s part.