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Google buys drone firm for internet access in developing countries

Washington - Tech giant Google fired a salvo Monday against Facebook in their duel to providing internet service from the air to less-developed regions of the world, saying it has acquired Titan Aerospace, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The start-up company in the western state of New Mexico builds high-altitude, solar-powered drones. No price was named in the deal.

"Titan Aerospace and Google share a profound optimism about the potential for technology to improve the world," Google said.

Google said it was "still early days" but the provision of internet access to millions of people could help with problems like disaster relief and environmental damage.

Titan’s drones are reportedly able to remain aloft at an altitude of 19,000 metres for five years, using solar power. The drone looks like a glider and has a wingspan of 50 metres, according to photos published Monday. The technology is expected to be ready by 2015.

Facebook was pursuing Titan in early March but instead took over British drone developer Ascenta, which also operates solar-powered, pilotless aircraft. That deal was valued at 20 million dollars.

DPA




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