Blue sky thinking: Google swoops on US drone internet firm after Facebook buzzes off to UK

17 Apr 2014

A ‘battle of the Titans’ appeared to be won by US internet giant Google this week when it acquired a US-based maker of solar-powered drone aircraft, Titan Aerospace, apparently beating an earlier offer from Facebook, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported. Titan’s drone technology is being developed for a project to deliver internet services to remote or underserved areas of the world from high altitude, and Google said Titan would work closely with its existing ‘Project Loon’, involving the use of balloons to transmit internet signals to underserved areas, which began a test phase last year.

Last month Facebook was said to be in talks to acquire Titan Aerospace, but the social media behemoth later instead agreed to pay USD20 million for Ascenta, a UK-based aerospace company that has also been working on solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles, according to the WSJ. Elsewhere, Facebook has bigger (flying) fish to fry this month with the recent news that its USD19 billion takeover of messaging service WhatsApp has received conditional Federal Trade Commission approval.

Google (Alphabet)