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.
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.