Google Scoops Up the Drone Maker Zuckerberg Failed to Win

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Former West Coast Editor
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Google just snatched one of the world’s top drone startups out of Mark Zuckerberg’s clutches.

The Big G has purchased Titan Aerospace, a leading maker of high-altitude solar drone robots, for an undisclosed purchase price, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Moriarty, New Mexico-based Titan Aerospace -- which owns the bragging rights to creating the world’s first “atmospheric satellites” -- just happens to be the very same little company that could that Zuckerberg was reportedly in talks to buy for $60 million last month as part of his ambitious plan to beam the internet to everyone. Everyone as in everyone in the world. 

Related: MLB in Hot Water for Unauthorized Drone Use at Spring Training

Google’s big buy comes just two weeks after Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s $20 million acquisition of Ascenta, the Somerset, England-based aerospace startup behind Zephyr, the world’s longest soaring sun-powered drone. Ascenta aerospace engineers are tasked with creating a high-altitude solar internet-beaming drone that could theoretically remain in flight for months at a time, and possibly indefinitely.

Titan engineers will reportedly work with Google on its Project Loon initiative, the Mountain View, Calif. web giant’s high-altitude balloon entry into the race to bring internet access to rural and remote areas of the world. Team Titan will also share expertise and technology with Google that will allow for the collection of “real-time, high resolution images of the earth, carry other atmospheric sensor and support voice and data services,” the Journal also reports.

Finally, Titan may also assist Google with Makani, a project to build a high-altitude airborne wind turbine that would create more cost-efficient energy than traditional wind turbine technologies.

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