Google’s balloon-based Internet project moves into live testing with first carrier

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Project Loon, Google’s ambitious balloon-based project to bring Internet access to the two-thirds of the world’s population who don’t yet have it, is about to begin its first live tests with a real carrier, reports The Guardian.

Australian carrier Telstra is providing base stations and part of its radio spectrum to allow Google to carry out tests with 20 balloons. The base stations will provide a two-way radio link with the balloons, which will then broadcast an LTE signal back to the ground – each balloon providing a signal across up to 600 square miles …  Read more

Google reportedly in talks to make $30 million investment in Virgin Galactic

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Just a few days after announcing its $500 million acquisition of satellite imaging company SkyBox, Google is now rumored to be making an investment in yet another satellite company. According to a new report out of Sky News, Google is currently planning to make a roughly $30 million investment in Virgin Galactic. The two companies have reportedly been in negotiations for months now, but have finally reached the “advanced” stages.

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Google acquires satellite imaging company SkyBox for $500 million, will eventually use it for Internet access

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Satellite company SkyBox just announced that it has been acquired by Google for $500 million. The two have been in talks for several months now, with the deal finally being announced today. SkyBox Imaging is a company that takes high resolution photos using satellites. Google, in a statement, had the following to say about the company:

“Skybox’s satellites will help keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery. Over time, we also hope that Skybox’s team and technology will be able to help improve Internet access and disaster relief — areas Google has long been interested in.”

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Google planning to spend more than $1 billion on satellites to bring internet to unwired areas of the globe

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According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, Google is planning to spend more than $1 billion to expand internet access to unwired regions of the world with a fleet of satellites. According to “people familiar with the matter,” Google this time around is hoping that it can overcome financial and technical problems it has faced in the past with this goal.

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Google updates Maps with new aerial, satellite and 45-degree imagery for 160 locations

As noted on the Google Maps blog, Google continues to update maps with new aerial, satellite, and 45-degree imagery for many cities in the U.S. and abroad. Google’s most recent addition to maps is a new collection of 45-degree imagery for 60 new cities—40 in the U.S. and 20 internationally— in places like Switzerland and Luxembourg. That brings the total number of cities with updated aerial and satellite imagery in Maps and Google Earth up to 164 cities in 108 countries. Google walked through a few of the recent updates, such as the Space Needle in Seattle and Bridges in the Sky art installation in Austria, but also provided a full list of cities with new high resolution imagery (below): Read more