It may seem like everyone is on Facebook, but it’s actually only 1.2 billion people. That’s a fair number of baby pictures and snack status updates.
Facebook is now in search mode for its next billion users, it seems. And the sky really is the limit.
Mark Zuckerberg and the gang are reportedly in talks to spend upwards of $60 million to purchase drone-maker Titan Aerospace, and commission the production of 11,000 solar-powered, pilotless aircrafts.
— James Zach Hollo (@JZachHollo) March 4, 2014
Sorry E.T., but this isn’t the launch of Spacebook. Or is it?
Zuckerberg says Facebook drones are the next step in his goal to bring affordable Internet access to the two-thirds of the world who lack it, starting with Africa.
The battery powered drones will be able to stay airborne for up to five years, and are reportedly much more affordable than traditional orbital-satellites.
The news comes a few months after Amazon’s announcement of its own drone-testing project. It reflects Facebook’s recent partnership with Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, and Qualcomm in launching Internet.org, an initiative to blanket the globe with Internet access and produce quality, affordable mobile access for all.
Social media reaction on the news was, predictably, mixed:
Facebook is reportedly thinking about buying a company that makes drones. “Click LIKE or else”. Bwahaha! RROOFF
— Bo Matthews (@bomatthews) March 6, 2014
Facebook is buying drones so they can be accessed in the developing world. Because nothing promotes progress like FarmVille requests.
— Johnny Novak (@JohnnyNovak) March 5, 2014
The global bandwidth battle is on. Google is using balloons. Facebook’s using drones. Yahoo’s using a really long ethernet cable.
— Dave Pell (@davepell) March 5, 2014
— umair haque (@umairh) March 5, 2014
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… Facebook?