back to article Google sends Titan broadband drones to the unicorns' graveyard

Being bought by Google X increasingly looks like a kiss of death: Alphabet has shuttered the Titan project which proposed hosting solar-powered broadband on high-altitude solar-powered drones. The move was first spotted by 9to5Google, which says staff at the division will be farmed out to its Project Loon (broadband …

  1. graeme leggett Silver badge

    the big question in acquisition

    "Just why taking over the satellite company was better than being its customer was never explained"

    'More money than sense' - is a phrase that springs to mind.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leaving the skies clear

    for Project Aquila and Zuck's laser firing internet.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. imanidiot Silver badge

    Big surprise there

    Or maybe not...

  4. Cuddles

    Kiss of death?

    Or lease of life? Titan may be being shut down now, but it was a stupid idea from the start. How much quicker would it have died if Google hadn't bought it and given it life support?

  5. barnetmike

    Accountant alert!

    Looks like the accountants are starting to gain a foothold at Alphabet.

  6. MR J

    Why Bad?

    The item topic seems to suggest this idea was bad, why?

    I know that in Texas and the Gulf of Mexico balloons are released daily to provide internet access to oil rigs. The idea of net from the sky seems to work, and if there were enough of these planes flying around then it could give a huge boost to areas that cant get internet.

    My mother lives in an area where there is no DSL coverage, no Cellphone Coverage, no Wireless Internet, and Dial-Up internet incurs a "Data-Usage" charge from the telco (Bellsouth/AT&T) regardless of whom you pick (and there is not much in the way of that any more either!).

    Other than the HUGE cost, and probably tedious regulatory hurdles, why is this such a bad idea?...

    Perhaps the tech (solar panels, battery storage, light materials of the plane AND electronic equipment) is not quite there, if so then I can see why this may not be a viable "now" idea, but shorely that's what this business was in part looking to design around?

    1. The Mole

      Re: Why Bad?

      I would agree that a reusable plane with some navigation ability does seem a better long term approach than a let go of a balloon and watch it drift away approach. Obviously the price of the plane has to be low enough and reliable enough vs the balloon but that will happen in time (particularly as wasting loads of gas in balloons isn't exactly sustainable)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why Bad?

      It think the biggest technical hurdle would be that these are flying aircraft, not stationary like satellites or slower moving like balloons. Drones can maintain a position, but they can also fall from the sky. So, I think some kind of flying craft in-between balloons and drones would work best, and keep out of the way of other flying craft and generally be more useful than deadly. Invent that, and then we might have something. Satellites are too expensive to launch and maintain, and ground-based systems suffer from the atmosphere and other signal-squelching obstacles.

      Do we need worldwide Internet access and coverage? Yes. Are we there yet? No.

      1. Yesnomaybe

        Re: Why Bad?

        "....So, I think some kind of flying craft in-between balloons and drones would work best,...."

        Blimp. The word you are looking for is "blimp"

  7. Stevie


    There was an open source kickstarter that tried to do this with inexpensive off-the-shelf linux kit and ploystyrene electric model airplanes, but it didn't fund because the public thought it would be just Pi in the sky.

  8. CCCP

    Alphabet, aka Google, has a poor history of success

    Apart from search, Google don't have any revenue successes. Diversification, if that is a thing for them, has failed spectacularly. Cars, shopping, news, social network, mail, drones, skynet etc

    They ended up with a natural monopoly in search ads (EMEA+US at least), which provides 90% of their revenue.

    Obviously Android dominates mobile, but it doesn't buy the lattes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alphabet, aka Google, has a poor history of success

      That's okay. At least they're trying. You don't come up with iPhones overnight. You end up with some Newtons along the way. If I may use Apple as an example. Like with anything you learn from scratch, you have to fail a bunch before you get something right.

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