back to article Google: What this planet needs is INTERNET FROM SPAAACE

Google is reportedly close to flinging $1bn at Elon Musk's SpaceX to bulk up investment in the private company's development of satellites for internet-based services. According to The Information, which cited several people familiar with the matter, a deal could be sealed soon. One source said that Google had agreed to value …

  1. Chris G

    Selfies from Spaaaaace

    That could be good for Google Earth to have spy...erm camerasat that could take a high res pic of you then beam ads according to your location and actions.

    1. Graham Marsden

      Re: Selfies from Spaaaaace

      Are *YOU* looking for Penis Enlargement solutions...?

      1. Montreal Sean

        Re: Selfies from Spaaaaace

        @Graham Marsden:

        I was looking for exactly that, then decided to buy a BMW M3 instead.

        1. Graham Marsden

          @Montreal Sean - Re: Selfies from Spaaaaace

          So you found what you were looking for, then...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Selfies from Spaaaaace

      Building some Borg cubes presumably.

  2. ratfox

    I thought Google had already bought a satellite company

    Skybox Imaging – Wasn't that last year?

  3. JonW

    Good stuff

    I find it really encouraging that private biz is pushing up into LEO.

    That's it - nothing profound :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good stuff

      So do I unless it is stinking of an advanced plot to enslave the rest of the mankind. The part is still capable of existence without fondling their phone for 3 minutes.

      1. Martin0641

        Re: Good stuff

        Its always the anonymous coward spouting dystopian gloom and doom. Cynicism is not new nor is it helpful in this circumstance.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good stuff

          "Its always the anonymous coward spouting dystopian gloom and doom. Cynicism is not new nor is it helpful in this circumstance."

          Hey, some of us are paranoid!

          1. }{amis}{

            Re: Good stuff

            Old Saying : you are only paranoid if their not out to get you.

            Any computer tech that do not know that Someone/thing is out to get them at all times

            is about to be fired for allowing their customer to be owned!!

        2. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good stuff

          Not always the AC's. I wander off into power-conflict land quite often. I'm not paranoid as my logs will demonstrate minute by minute. My only reason for any optimism is that I won't be around very much longer, have no kids, and me, my relatives and in-laws are all (ex-)military so they'll cope just fine!

          Now the rest of humanity? Ya'll might have a problem.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good stuff

      How do these satellite Internet plans allow for uploading to the satellites? Do they still only give ground users a static snapshot of some net content? Can a laptop user in the middle of nowhere retrieve content from a satellite?

      1. Pen-y-gors

        Re: Good stuff

        @AC I understand it, there's no 'uploading' to some sort of server on a satellite or anything. The satellite just functions as a channel for a comms link between client and server - client connects via wifi or whatever to small local mast that talks via the satellite to the server. As it's in very low orbit (750miles?) the lag is much much less than with geosynch satellites at 22000 miles.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Uploading to satellite

        LEO satellites are much easier to communicate with than GSO. You don't need a dish, and if you wanted the increased gain one offers there are ways around that now. Google 'Kymeta', for instance.

        Your upload channel will be limited compared to downlink, because it is easier for the satellite to send more data (using more complex modulations / better FEC ratios) than to receive the considerably weaker and less focused signals you send up.

    3. cray74

      Re: Good stuff

      Well, private business already dominates GEO. That's where the big bucks are made in space: comm sats, orbital cash cows since the 1980s.

      The other place to make money is launching payloads into space, which has been privately dominated since, well, the dawn of the Space Age, at least in the West. Even the shuttle was privately owned for most of its life (United Space Alliance). It's not like the US Air Force or NASA have rocket factories, so they buy their hardware from private contractors, whether it was the Saturn V or Delta II or Falcon 9.

  4. Mikel

    Google and SpaceX united

    What an amazing place the future will be.

    Completely unrelated: Microsoft spends half a billion dollars to get talking heads and American football coaches to pretend to use their tablet.

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Virgin IntelAIgents Rule with Reigns in Virtual Team Terrain

    So, a direct fight between Blighty Knights and Uncle Sam Cowboys for Command and Control Of CyberSpacedD Computers and Communications. Way to go, Sir Richard.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Virgin IntelAIgents Rule with Reigns in Virtual Team Terrain

      Oh, and Provision of Power for Virtual Machines in touch with IT and Humanities

  6. Haro

    It's a race between towers and satellites

    For example, at the cottage (very remote in Canada), there have been huge wastes of money on this. First came a unique tower on the lake that did wimax very expensively. Then the normal towers came closer. I think Iridium suffered the same thing, very slow and expensive connections, and in came the towers. By the time this comes in, there will be a tower nearby doing super-duper-lte for next to nothing.

    Even in Africa, towers are cheaper.

    1. cray74

      Re: It's a race between towers and satellites

      "I think Iridium suffered the same thing, very slow and expensive connections, and in came the towers"

      That was one issue, but Iridium had a host of other problems that killed it faster than improving terrestrial towers.

      1) The phones didn't work well until the satellite constellation was nearly complete, meaning a new business was gambling BEEELLIONS of dollars before revenue arrived. The original investors were skittish and didn't stick around when Iridium ran into the issues below. Iridium was rescued, but its white knight investor had grabby, wandering hands and whispered things in Iridium's ear like, "national security" and "defense benefits."

      2) Even by the standards of the time, Iridium's phones had poor indoor reception. When you're trying to sell phones to businessmen who operate outside 1990s cell networks, giving them poor reception when they're indoors with clients is not a good way to broaden your customer network beyond loggers, hermits, and jungle explorers.

      3) The phones were large and clunky compared to contemporary cell phones. The popular, pocket-sized Startac phone had been out for years by the time Iridium released its two-fisted phones. On the plus side, first gen Iridium phones had antennas large enough to double as self defense batons.

      4) The phones and plans were very expensive compared to contemporary cells. For that, you got dubious reception and large, clunky phones.

      5) Customer service (or, rather, sales) were handled poorly. Iridium apparently didn't put a lot of thought into that important operation known as "sales," leaving potential customers to flounder with a bad website (again, even by 90s standards) and runarounds from sales reps.

      But the bankruptcy worked out well for some people. The US DoD picked up a new satellite communication system for pocket change, and Iridium was happy to take the lint and gum wrappers that came with the pennies.

  7. James O'Shea Silver badge

    Does anyone else

    think that that pic looks kind of like 'Q' from Star Trek TNG?

    (Note: one of the reasons why I watched DS9 was that a certain captain was NOT Picard.)

  8. Memphis3

    Pipe Dream

    Working for Boeing 25 years. They tried this satellite Internet, Failed Failed Failed. It is impossible to get bandwidth with a satellite to a billion house holds. It is not possible


    With a million satellites with a life span of say 20yrs before the million satellites run out of fuel and are place in the satellite graveyard .

    Ya that would work only thing is it would cost more than the total net worth of all Earths natural resources.

    Who cares if we have to sell the entire Earth We have space based internet.

  9. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    The early 90's are back. Yay

    Several companies tried various rifts on the LEO (or MEO) comms game back then. I think there were about 5 of them with proposals.

    Several RLV companies thought this was the killer app.

    IIRC only Orbcomm (SMS from space, OK for tracking long distance truck drivers) and Iridium (very expensive calls to oil exploration workers in the field, later the DoD) actually launched. Both are on their 2nd (or 3rd) generations.

    The RLV companies just died.

    There is some speculation that this will be the application that needs all those reusable F9 1st stages that SpaceX is hoping to recover and refurbish over the coming years.

    We'll see.

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