Why Google Plans to Launch 180 Satellites
$1B plan aims to spread Internet to unconnected regions
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jun 2, 2014 2:30 PM CDT
In this April 17, 2007 file photo, exhibitors of the Google company work on laptop computers in front of an illuminated sign of the Google logo.   (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, File)

(Newser) – It already has robot cars, sea barges, and balloons, and now Google is conquering a new frontier: Outer space. The search giant plans to spend more than $1 billion—and, depending on how things go, perhaps more than $3 billion—to send a fleet of satellites into orbit, with the goal of bringing Internet access to the still-unwired corners of the globe, the Wall Street Journal reports today. Initial plans call for 180 small satellites, which will circle the earth at an unusually low altitude.

"Internet connectivity significantly improves people's lives. Yet two thirds of the world have no access at all," a Google spokeswoman said, while declining to comment further on the effort. But some observers are skeptical, noting that past Internet satellite efforts have failed—one company has been trying to do this since the 1990s. "This is exactly the kind of pipe dream we have seen before," says one satellite consulting firm, predicting that Google's project will end up "costing more than they can imagine today."

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Ezekiel 25:17
Jun 2, 2014 11:51 PM CDT
If it brings down prices, then I'm in. Right now, we pay $100 per month for Hughes satellite internet services. It is for a SCADA operation. It's not good enough for streaming or anything like that. We have a client package operating on that system that is close to realtime monitoring. But when it crashes, we log into it via remote administrate. Then it sends screen shots through the backhaul. That is excruciatingly slow. You can move the mouse and 3 seconds later it moves across the screen. But its suitable for compliance purposes. At my previous employer, it was a personal Earthstation. That was dark ages stuff going on. I think I saw the first version of that at a museum.
Jun 2, 2014 9:01 PM CDT
Short answer? Skynet.
Jun 2, 2014 7:44 PM CDT
Will Google be giving away free computers to these poorer countries for this internet access?