Thursday, April 3, 2014

Drones of Facebook, Balloons of Google

Facebook has started to cover the whole world with its service. It is planning to launch flying droids to broaden the internet connection.

BBC: Facebook drones to offer low-cost net access

It is not a joke. Actually, Facebook bought a Somerset-based designer of solar-powered drones for $20 million.

The Guardian: Facebook buys UK maker of solar-powered drones to expand internet

Google also declared to utilize balloons for the same purpose as Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg insisted that drones were superior to balloons as the means of telecommunication.

ITProPortal: Facebook releases more details on drone project: Will monopolistic telcos ground Zuckerberg?

I wrote that Facebook would be an infrastructure itself in the past entry. Though it was rather a metaphor, it is going to be an internet service provider soon.

The reason why Apple won the battle of music store is not iPods, but iTunes. It established an environment in which users were completely satisfied. Amazon is also planning to let Kindle be a commodity so that everyone can buy ebooks without stress or hesitation. Google has developed Android and Google Play. Instead, Facebook has equipped only a Software as a Service. It is quite natural that it desires Facebook Phone or other solution.

There is another point of view. Both Google and Facebook are infiltrated to almost all developed countries. These are already red oceans. They intend to cultivate developing counties as a new market. However, there are two problems around this new business. First, the internet connection is so vulnerable in these regions. And second, they are not so wealthy that quick monetization is difficult.

Satellite internet can be a solution of these challenges. It will be cheaper to fly some drones than to create wired internet structure. In addition, offering a large amount of information via the internet with low cost will let the people living in developing countries richer. I think that their ambitious plans of Google and Facebook is rational.

By the way, which is better, drones or balloons? I am not sure. If they fall, balloons would cause less serious trouble.

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