Google's Balloon Dreams
The search giant is already involved in the mobile phone and applications business, municipal WiFi, made a lot of noise about the 700 Mhz auctions, and is rumored to be working on an undersea cable project. Oh, and let's not forget that little thing it dominates called the Internet search market.
Nonetheless, the firm is now rumored to be looking at yet another off-beat wireless technology: low-orbit balloons that can be used to beam wireless connectivity to rural communities where it would otherwise be difficult or unprofitable to set up cell-towers.
Specifically, a Wall Street Journal blog says that the firm has been looking into the work done in this area by Space Data Corp. , with one source claiming that Google has even mulled buying the company.
Space Data's approach is much more low-cost than some other rivals in this field: The firm uses disposable balloons and recycles the $1,500 transmitter for further missions. Other companies, such as Sanswire Technologies Inc. (OTC: SNWR) have been far more ambitious, proposing the development of a new breed of zeppelins to deiver wireless from near-space. (See WiMax in Space?)
Seems like the quick and dirty approach may have paid off.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung