The rumors of Google buying a stake in SpaceX started percolating a few days ago, and now it's official. Google and Fidelity have invested a total of $1 billion in the private space firm, which gives them about 10% share. SpaceX says the new funding will go toward the development of reusable rocket technology and satellite manufacturing.
There have been rumblings recently that, adding to its other (perhaps more far-flung) efforts to improve Internet access around the world, Google would eventually deploy its own fleet of satellites. Today, those rumblings got a little bit closer to reality as Google announced its agreement to acquire satellite imaging company Skybox for $500 million in cash.
Skybox's journey so far, according to the announcement on its own blog, has been about revolutionizing "access to information about the changes happening across the surface of the Earth." Having already deployed the world's smallest high-resolution imaging satellite, the company says it's already made "great strides." Read More
Google Fiber coming to your city, with its promise of gigabit Internet speeds up to 100 times faster than what most of us currently put up with, is about as awesome as winning the lottery often enough to buy Time Warner Cable yourself and using all of the company's resources to funnel a connection to your house and yours only. Thus far the service has only appeared in a few parts of the country, namely Kansas City, Austin, and Provo. Read More
"Many people don't realize … the majority of the world is not connected to the internet. How do we get cost-effective, inexpensive, and reliable connectivity to the remaining 5 or 6 billion people who don't have it?"
Chief Technical Architect Rich DeVaul poses this question in introducing the technology behind Project Loon – the newly (officially) announced project from Google X that aims to bring internet connectivity to "rural, remote, and underserviced areas," as well as those affected by natural disasters. Read More
Everyone's favorite mesh networking startup Open Garden today announced its 2.0 refresh at LAUNCH festival, having allegedly already served 2.1 million installs since version 1.
Readers would be forgiven for not remembering exactly what Open Garden is, or why it's interesting – we last covered the app in its beta stage.
Basically, the idea behind Open Garden is to create ubiquitous internet access by linking various smart devices together and sharing a common internet connection in a mesh network. Read More
Much like keyboards (which we covered last week), browsers are a dime a dozen. Google ships one browser with Android (in more recent versions, that's been Chrome), which most manufacturers then replace with their own proprietary version. And then there are the dozens (if not hundreds) of third-party browsers available on the Play Store. Read More
A couple of days ago, we ran a story about a circulating rumor that Google had expressed strong concerns with the launch of an Acer phone powered by Chinese Internet firm Alibaba's Aliyun OS. As the post explained, Alibaba claimed that Google had warned Acer that releasing the CloudMobile A800 could result in the search giant "terminating its Android-related cooperation and other technology licensing with [Acer]." These rather strong words led to speculation over just what the issue could be with Aliyun, and whether Google had issued the warning at all. Read More
To the residents of Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri: we hate you. Sincerely, every Internet user in the United States.
We've known about Google's plan to roll out its very first fiber optical Internet and cable service in the twin Midwestern cities for months, but today the full scope of Google's plans has been revealed on the fiber.google.com page. The options are staggering, the technology is drool-inducing, and the extras are enough to make even Google I/O attendees jealous. Read More
Surfing the web while on the move has become a reality thanks to mobile internet over 3G or LTE. However despite yearly advancements in its technology, the reliability of mobile networks remains lackluster.
A solution to ubiquitous connectivity has come in the form of blanketing various cities with wireless hotspots. For example, in Singapore the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) have initiated the Wireless@SG program which aims to provide wireless hotspots all across the island. Read More
Skype, a hugely practical video (and internet) calling solution, got an update today, bringing the app to version 22.214.171.1247 and bringing a few key improvements to the table. The most noticeable improvement in this release is an updated (and enhanced) call interface, adding functionality and panache to the screen every user sees when placing or receiving a call.
Besides an updated call screen, the latest release also adds much-needed video call compatibility with Samsung's Epic 4G Touch (Sprint's version of the Galaxy SII), as well as enhanced call quality. Read More