Fresh off the heels of a $19 billion dollar purchase of the popular messaging app, WhatsApp, Facebook is once again in the news. This time, the social media company is making headlines for something that at first glance seems a bit strange. Facebook wants to buy a drone maker.
Yes, you read that right. According to TechCrunch and many other news outlets reporting on the story this week, Facebook may buy Titan Aerospace. What makes Titan Aerospace special? The company manufactures solar-powered drones that fly close to the altitude for earth orbit and don’t need to land for upwards of five years.
That’s quite a product that Titan Aerospace has for sale, but why would a Web 2.0 giant and social media site want a bunch of high-altitude drones? It turns out this purchase (rumored to be worth around $60 million) is all about getting more of the world on the internet.
Facebook, along with many other tech companies, want to bring the internet to those who have little or no access. This is a significantly large population of people around the globe, many in places where the regular infrastructure required for internet use is lacking. Facebook’s drones would provide similar services as satellite internet to these regions at a fraction of the cost of traditional satellites.
This push for more world connectivity comes from an organization called Internet.org. Of course, Facebook has a lot to gain from being the force behind attempts to bring connectivity to millions more people. The more people using Facebook, the better their revenues and data will be for advertisers.
At the same time, Internet.org’s mission is altruistic. There is a true desire to bring access to human knowledge to all parts of the globe, in hopes that it will only continue to improve humanity. Keep an eye on this purchase if it goes through, because it could mean a new internet in the not-so-distant future!