It would take a lot of thunderbolts and lightning to frighten a company as resourceful as Google.
After some of the bad news earlier this month, Google had a very good day on the stock market and is soaring high on several big announcements.
NASDAQ: GOOG – Apr 15 6:13 PM ET
536.44 +3.92 (0.74%)
As of today, April 15th, starting at 6am, Google started taking public orders for the Google Glass Explorer product.
What’s the catch? You have to be a US citizen because the Glass Explorer program is focused on the US and doesn’t have a lot of support for other countries yet. D’oh!
Also, at $1,500, you probably need to have a solid bankroll or a game plan to make the money back by producing videos and taking images that you can promote as ‘through glass’.
The official post on Google Plus took several minutes to finish loading thanks to the comments from people who range from excited, to angry, depending on their global location and access to the needed funds.
There’s no mention of the public access to the Explorer Glass Edition on the official Google Blog, but last week they had Dr. Jane Goodall discussing the tools she used to document and learn about chimpanzee behavior.
When I consider the additional images/video Dr.Goodall would have been able to collect and share if her studies were done with today’s technology/tools, it really boggles my mind.
Still, I don’t have US citizenship, or $1,500 laying around, so all I can do is write with jealousy.
Speaking of funds, Google also just purchased Titan Aerospace, the same company that has successfully built self-powered gliders that can sustain an altitude of 65,000 feet for up to three years.
The only figure that news sites will quote is the $60 million US that Facebook had previously offered to purchase Titan Aerospace, and the assumption is that Google obviously offered even more.
How much is it worth to Google to be able to update Google Maps image data without sharing the cost of satellite images? Millions.
What’s the value of traffic and exposure if Google’s drones can provide near real-time updates of forest fires and other large disasters? Priceless.
These self-powered gliders can apparently supplement Google’s Loon Project which provides internet access to low density population areas using ‘smart’ balloons that use the various wind layers to control their location.
If a balloon is going the wrong direction it can raise or lower to get into a different layer of wind for some limited control of it’s travel. When a balloon needs maintenance it can be deflated slowly to bring it back to ground safely, and in the event of a malfunction there’s a parachute in each balloon.
Currently the Loon project is focused in New Zealand with a future goal of establishing a contiguous ring of balloons around the 40th southern parallel that will provide uninterrupted internet access for anyone living in the 40km range of the ring.
With the purchase of Titan Aerospace and it’s gliders, Google has even more options and folks are already starting to wonder about a hybrid balloon using some of the glider technology that Titan Aerospace is bringing to the table.
Honestly, between selling connectivity and providing discounted image data for Google Earth, this purchase unlocks a ton of potential and could easily pay itself off in short order because Google’s in a great position to actually use the technology.