Global internet: Facebook drones vs. Google balloons

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

FB drone
Facebook drones would provide wireless internet as they fly over cities.

According to recent reports, Facebook is trying to buy Titan Aerospace, a company that specializes in making drones. Might the social media giant be trying to spread internet access to underdeveloped areas? If so, they’ll be going head-to-head against Google’s Project Loon, which strives to accomplish the same goal!

Facebook reportedly plans to use drones called Titan Solara 60 to deliver internet. These expensive bad boys have a wingspan of 125 feet, can carry up to 250 pounds, and fly at an altitude of 65,000 feet. Since they are solar-powered, the aircraft can stay in the air non-stop for 5 years at a time.

As high-tech as that sounds, there are some drawbacks. If one were to malfunction and fall, it would be a huge danger to unsuspecting individuals on the ground. Also, experts have pointed out that people may not feel comfortable with these spy-looking crafts constantly flying overhead.

Meanwhile, Google plans to use about 70,000 solar-powered hot air balloons to deliver internet access. The large swarm will constantly provide internet over a certain area so that if one balloon drifts off, another will quickly takes its place. The balloons are relatively cheaper than the drones, and they pose less of a threat if they fall from the sky. However, the balloons are made of a thin fabric, so they’ll wear down in about 100 days.

Google has been testing their Project Loon in New Zealand since last year, so they definitely have a headstart over Facebook, who has yet to confirm their plans or testing. However, only time will tell which of the powerful companies will come out on top. One thing is for sure: the two mega internet giants couldn’t have asked for worthier opponents.

Images courtesy of Titan Aerospace.