Facebook’s Aquila Internet-delivery Drone Could Add Billions More Online Customers

Facebook’s Aquila Drone Could Add Billions More Online Customers

Social networking giant Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) last week reported the first successful full-scale test flight of its ambitious Aquila solar-powered high-altitude unmanned aircraft. It’s part of an ambitious goal to bring four billion more  people online — more customers, freelancers and maybe even partners for your business.

“After two years of engineering, I’m proud to announce the successful first flight of Aquila — the solar-powered plane we designed to beam internet to remote parts of the world,” wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a post on Thursday.

The maiden flight took place before dawn in Yuma, Arizona, on June 28.

Aquila Drone Beams High Speed Internet from the Sky

Facebook’s original mission was to fly Aquila for 30 minutes, but everything went so well that the company decided to keep the plane up for nearly 96 minutes.

It was a significant milestone and step forward in Facebook’s quest to use drones to beam high speed internet from the sky to the nearly four billion people (60 percent of the global population) without internet access, 1.6 billion of whom live in remote locations with no access to mobile broadband networks.

“Over the next year we’re going to keep testing Aquila — flying higher and longer, and adding more planes and payloads. It’s all part of our mission to connect the world and help more of the four billion people who are not online access all the opportunities of the internet,” Zuckerberg said.

“When complete, Aquila will be able to circle a region up to 96 km in diameter, beaming connectivity down from an altitude of more than 60,000 feet using laser communications and millimeter wave systems,” added Jay Parikh, Global Head of Engineering and Infrastructure at Facebook.

“Our goal is to have a fleet of Aquilas flying together at 60,000 feet, communicating with each other with lasers and staying aloft for months at a time — something that’s never been done before,” continued Zuckerberg.

4 Billion More People Could Soon Come Online

It’s worth reiterating that Zuckerberg and his company’s Connectivity Lab, the group working on the state-of-the-art internet-delivery drone, intend to bring four billion more people online via the Aquila project. That’s four billion more potential online customers, freelancers and maybe even partners!

The opportunities of the internet are endless, especially with more people online. From expanding the customer base for online businesses to enabling creation of new services and new revenue streams on top of traditional ones and increasing global visibility for brands, an increasingly connected world cod be good for many.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), another internet giant and major Facebook rival, is also working on a similar project, pushing its Project Loon, which would use high-altitude balloons to distribute connectivity and bring people in remote parts of the world online. Elon Musk’s SpaceX, too, aspires to use satellites to cover the globe with internet connectivity.

Of course, both Facebook and Google have plans of their own on how they would tap this new pool of internet users. Their business models depend on overseas growth and they are determined to reach every single person on the planet. But, savvy entrepreneurs and small businesses also stand to benefit if the high speed internet connectivity projects are successful in bringing more people online.

Moreover, the race to bring affordable internet to hundreds of millions of people in more sparsely populated and hard-to-reach stretches of the globe could also usher in an important new era of rigorous experimentation and innovation not just from technology giants like Facebook and Google, but also from enterprising start-ups touting the next big thing.

Image: Facebook

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[“source-smallbiztrends”]

SpaceX Rocket Explodes on Launchpad With Facebook’s Internet Satellite on Board

SpaceX Rocket Explodes on Launchpad With Facebook's Internet Satellite on Board

SpaceX Rocket Explodes on Launchpad With Facebook’s Internet Satellite on Board
HIGHLIGHTS
The explosion destroyed the Israeli communications satellite
Mark Zuckerberg disapointed over SpaceX’s launch failure
The accident is the second of its kind since SpaceX was founded in 2002
An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad during a test in Florida on Thursday, destroying a satellite that Facebook planned to use to beam high-speed internet to Africa.

The blast at Cape Canaveral – though it caused no injuries – marks a setback for the California-based private space firm and its founder, internet entrepreneur Elon Musk, who wants to revolutionize the launch industry by making rocket components reusable.

“Loss of Falcon vehicle today during propellant fill operation,” Musk tweeted. “Originated around upper stage oxygen tank. Cause still unknown. More soon.”

Dramatic footage broadcast by ABC News showed the rocket burst into a roaring ball of flame amid what appeared to be a succession of blasts – sending its payload tumbling to the ground as a dense plume of black smoke filled the air.

“At approximately 9:07am ET (13:07 GMT), during a standard pre-launch static fire test for the Amos-6 mission, there was an anomaly at SpaceX’s Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 40 resulting in loss of the vehicle,” the firm said.

“Per standard operating procedure, the pad was clear and there were no injuries.”
But the explosion destroyed the Israeli communications satellite that the Falcon 9 was due to deliver into orbit on Saturday — drawing a dismayed reaction from Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg.

“As I’m here in Africa, I’m deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent,” Zuckerberg said on his Facebook page.

Facebook was contracted to use the Amos-6 to provide broadband internet coverage for large parts of sub-Saharan Africa and other remote parts of the world as part of the social media giant’s Internet.org initiative.

“Fortunately, we have developed other technologies like Aquila that will connect people as well,” Zuckerberg said, referring to the solar-powered plane being developed by Facebook to make the internet available in remote areas.

“We will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided.”

European satellite operator Eutelsat – Facebook’s partner in the project – said in a statement it was committed to expanding broadband access in Africa despite the loss of the Amos-6.

Heaviest payload
A Nasa spokeswoman told AFP that emergency services at the nearby Kennedy Space Center were monitoring the situation and conducting air quality tests to ensure there is no threat to the health of staff.

Officials at the center advised workers to remain inside until further notice, but Brevard County Emergency Management said there was no threat to the public from the incident.

The Amos-6 was the heaviest payload to date for a SpaceX rocket, with an estimated value of between $200-300 million (roughly Rs. 1,337 crores to Rs. 2,004 crores), according to John Logsdon, former director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University.

The accident – the second of its kind since SpaceX was founded in 2002 – comes just over a year after a Falcon 9 rocket failed after liftoff on June 28 2015, destroying a Dragon cargo capsule bound for the International Space Station (ISS).

Before that, SpaceX had logged 18 successful launches of the Falcon 9 – including six of 12 planned supply missions to the ISS carried out as part of a $1.6 billion (roughly Rs. 10,696 crores) contract with Nasa.

It had carried out another eight successful launches since June 2015, including last month when a Falcon 9 successfully placed a Japanese communications satellite in orbit, and then landed intact on a floating drone ship.

(Also see: SpaceX Propels Cargo to Space Station, Lands Rocket)

Before then the firm lost several rockets as it attempted to land them upright on an ocean platform at the end of a flight — a crucial part of its strategy for reusable spacecraft.

‘Valuable experience’
While the blast is likely to disrupt SpaceX plans for six more launches between now and January 2017, experts made clear that such incidents are a normal part of the space learning curve.

“It’s clearly a setback, but how great the setback is and how long the delay, it’s impossible to know until there is more information available,” said Logsdon.

He noted that the launch pad damaged on Thursday was distinct from the one that will serve to launch SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, intended to ferry astronauts to the ISS starting in late 2017.

Nasa said in a tweet that Thursday’s SpaceX explosion “reminds us that spaceflight is challenging. Our partners learn from each success & setback.”

Loizos Heracleous, a professor of strategy at Warwick Business School, said such setbacks were par for the course – and would not affect SpaceX’s stated long-term goals of slashing the cost of space flight through the use of reusable rockets, and eventually colonizing Mars.

“SpaceX is gathering valuable experience, and each accident brings lessons on how to enhance the integrity of the craft for future missions,” he said.

“Given that SpaceX is working to provide Nasa with a way to transport not just cargo, but also astronauts to the International Space Station, it is especially crucial that such learning takes place before that happens.”

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Tags: SpaceX, Falcon 9, Elon Musk, Facebook, Science, Internet

[“Source-Gadgets”]

You Can Soon Activate Facebook’s Safety Check Yourself, Zuckerberg Confirms

You Can Soon Activate Facebook's Safety Check Yourself, Zuckerberg ConfirmsYou Can Soon Activate Facebook’s Safety Check Yourself, Zuckerberg Confirms
HIGHLIGHTS
Mark Zuckerberg confirmed the feature at his meeting in Rome
Users will be able to enable Safety Check in emergencies
It may be a reform after company received several criticisms about the fe
Facebook will soon let users enable Safety Check on their own in an emergency situation or a crisis. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday revealed company’s plans to be working on the feature that would let users create an alert on Facebook through which their relatives and friends can know if they are safe in disasters or other tough conditions.

While holding a townhall meeting in Rome’s Luiss University on Monday, Zuckerberg received a question from audience regarding the future of Facebook’s Safety Check in the wake of recent earthquakes in Italy. “Yes, we’re working on that already.” he said, confirming that the feature might soon be tested and rolled to the public. Adding to his statements, Zuckerberg highlighted that Facebook is not only made for fun moments with friends, but also to ensure safety of the users who’re in peril or such extreme situations throughout the globe.

Facebook introduced Safety Check back in 2014, saying, “We want to provide a helpful tool that people can use when major disasters strike, so we’ve created safety check” in a blog post. Since then, Facebook could be seen activating this feature in several emergency situations and natural disasters in the world, including terrorist attacks – events that Zuckerberg says have “just been too common over the last few years”.
Zuckerberg said in a video of the townhall meeting posted by him on the social-networking website,”If we’re building a community product, this is one of the moments of truth for us…” He added, “We’re working on what you say. When Safety Check got started a couple of years ago, it was only for natural disasters. The next thing we need to do is make it so that communities can trigger it themselves when there is some disaster.”

Facebook recently has been receiving a lot of criticism for the activation of Safety Check only in select places or as a few point out, in the “West”. The Paris attacks saw Facebook deploying this feature extensively throughout the affected region. Later, the California-based Internet company was slammed for being biased for not activating it during the Nigeria blasts, to which company reacted and made the feature available in the region.

While it’s still unclear how this feature will come in use and what all users would ‘qualify’ to be able to create an alert, Facebook surely seems to be sidelining itself from all the backlash it received in the past for being biased.

Share a screenshot and win Samsung smartphones worth Rs. 90,000 by participating in the #BrowseFaster contest.

Tags: Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Social, Apps, Safety Check, Paris Attacks

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Facebook’s Aquila Internet-delivery Drone Could Add Billions More Online Customers

Facebook’s Aquila Drone Could Add Billions More Online Customers

Social networking giant Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) last week reported the first successful full-scale test flight of its ambitious Aquila solar-powered high-altitude unmanned aircraft. It’s part of an ambitious goal to bring four billion more  people online — more customers, freelancers and maybe even partners for your business.

“After two years of engineering, I’m proud to announce the successful first flight of Aquila — the solar-powered plane we designed to beam internet to remote parts of the world,” wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a post on Thursday.

The maiden flight took place before dawn in Yuma, Arizona, on June 28.

Aquila Drone Beams High Speed Internet from the Sky

Facebook’s original mission was to fly Aquila for 30 minutes, but everything went so well that the company decided to keep the plane up for nearly 96 minutes.

It was a significant milestone and step forward in Facebook’s quest to use drones to beam high speed internet from the sky to the nearly four billion people (60 percent of the global population) without internet access, 1.6 billion of whom live in remote locations with no access to mobile broadband networks.

“Over the next year we’re going to keep testing Aquila — flying higher and longer, and adding more planes and payloads. It’s all part of our mission to connect the world and help more of the four billion people who are not online access all the opportunities of the internet,” Zuckerberg said.

“When complete, Aquila will be able to circle a region up to 96 km in diameter, beaming connectivity down from an altitude of more than 60,000 feet using laser communications and millimeter wave systems,” added Jay Parikh, Global Head of Engineering and Infrastructure at Facebook.

“Our goal is to have a fleet of Aquilas flying together at 60,000 feet, communicating with each other with lasers and staying aloft for months at a time — something that’s never been done before,” continued Zuckerberg.

4 Billion More People Could Soon Come Online

It’s worth reiterating that Zuckerberg and his company’s Connectivity Lab, the group working on the state-of-the-art internet-delivery drone, intend to bring four billion more people online via the Aquila project. That’s four billion more potential online customers, freelancers and maybe even partners!

The opportunities of the internet are endless, especially with more people online. From expanding the customer base for online businesses to enabling creation of new services and new revenue streams on top of traditional ones and increasing global visibility for brands, an increasingly connected world cod be good for many.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), another internet giant and major Facebook rival, is also working on a similar project, pushing its Project Loon, which would use high-altitude balloons to distribute connectivity and bring people in remote parts of the world online. Elon Musk’s SpaceX, too, aspires to use satellites to cover the globe with internet connectivity.

Of course, both Facebook and Google have plans of their own on how they would tap this new pool of internet users. Their business models depend on overseas growth and they are determined to reach every single person on the planet. But, savvy entrepreneurs and small businesses also stand to benefit if the high speed internet connectivity projects are successful in bringing more people online.

Moreover, the race to bring affordable internet to hundreds of millions of people in more sparsely populated and hard-to-reach stretches of the globe could also usher in an important new era of rigorous experimentation and innovation not just from technology giants like Facebook and Google, but also from enterprising start-ups touting the next big thing.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg meets propaganda czar in China charm drive

A file photo of Liu Yunshan meeting with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Beijing on Saturday. Photo: AP

A file photo of Liu Yunshan meeting with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Beijing on Saturday. Photo: AP

Beijing: Facebook’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg met China’s propaganda czar Liu Yunshan in Beijing on Saturday as part of a charm offensive in one of the few markets where the social network cannot be accessed.

The rare meeting, reported by China’s state news agency Xinhua, suggests warming relations between Facebook and the Chinese government, even as Beijing steps up censorship of and control over the Internet. Liu, who sits on the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee which is the apex of power in China, praised Facebook’s technology and management methods, Xinhua said.

Zuckerberg was in Beijing for the China Development Forum, a government-sponsored conference bringing together top business executives and the country’s ruling elite. China “hopes (Facebook) can strengthen exchanges, share experiences and improve mutual understanding with China’s Internet companies”, Xinhuaquoted Liu as telling Zuckerberg. Earlier this year, Beijing introduced new rules on online publication, which analysts say may place further curbs on foreign internet businesses trying to operate in China.

Online content publishers should “promote core socialist values” and spread ideas, morals and knowledge that improve the quality of the nation and promote economic development.

Foreign companies in China, especially in media, face political pressure from a range of regulations. The country’s military newspaper calls the Internet the most important front in an ideological battle against “Western anti-China forces”.

China, the world’s second largest economy, has the biggest Internet population, numbering almost 700 million people.

On Friday, Zuckerberg posted an image of himself running through smog in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, past the portrait of the late Chairman Mao Zedong hanging over the Forbidden City.

The 31-year-old has achieved celebrity status in China, one of the few markets where Facebook and other foreign Internet platforms, including Alphabet Inc’s Google services and Twitter Inc, are not available due to tight government controls.

He has long sought to improve his company’s relationship with the Chinese authorities, and now sits on the advisory board of the School of Economics and Management at China’s elite Tsinghua University.

Zuckerberg began his remarks to the forum in Mandarin, speaking about the promise of artificial intelligence, particularly devices such as self-driving cars and medical diagnostics.

He sidestepped sensitive issues, talking instead about technology and his family.

“The one thing I am extremely optimistic about for China is the emphasis on engineering,” Zuckerberg said.

He did not respond to a question from Reuters about Facebook’s plans to do business in China.

During the forum, Alibaba Group Holdings’s executive chairman Jack Ma praised Zuckerberg, saying he respected Chinese culture and ran a “great company”.

“He respects the Chinese and oriental culture by instinct,” Ma said. “Not because he wants to make money.” Reuters

[“Source-Livemint”]

Facebook’s Oculus Unveils New Social, Video Features for Samsung Gear VR

Facebook's Oculus Unveils New Social, Video Features for Samsung Gear VR

Facebook-owned Oculus VR is bringing new social and video capabilities to the world of virtual reality. The company announced an update to its software that will enable Samsung Gear VR users to create a social profile while also leveraging several other features. The update will go live on Thursday. Oculus added that it also plans to introduce a feature to allow users to connect their Gear VR account with their Facebook account. The rollout of this feature, however, is planned for next week.

Oculus announced on Wednesday that its new set of features for Samsung Gear VR, which runs its software, will allow a user to look for friends, make a profile, and also rate different apps on the Oculus Store. The feature is similar to Xbox Live, Microsoft’s gaming network for Xbox One that allows users to interact and play with their friends.

The company has also added the ability to create rooms with friends in Oculus Social. This will enable friends to watch video streams on Twitch or Vimeo. On the sidelines, Oculus also announced Social Trivia, a game that lets users play with up to four friends to test their knowledge. A multiplayer adventure game called Herobound allows users to band together and fight for a common mission.

As previously promised, Facebook is also bringing some video capabilities to Samsung Gear VR. Dubbed Facebook Videos, the feature allows users to connect their Facebook account with Oculus Video. This will enable them to see personalised 360-degree videos to their taste based on the pages and people they follow. Oculus also noted that users will soon be able to like, share, and react to such videos from Samsung Gear VR headset.

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[“source-Gadgets”]

Google Joins Facebook’s Open Compute Project to Revolutionise Data Centres

Google Joins Facebook's Open Compute Project to Revolutionise Data Centres

Search engine giant Google and the social networking website have teamed up to give Facebook’s “Open Compute Project” a new push that works to change the way data centres are designed and operated across the world.

Five years ago, Facebook started leading an effort called the “Open Compute Project”. Data centres power the internet. They are the nervous system that allows all kinds of services to run – including Facebook.

“Today, Google joined the ‘Open Compute Project’. Google has always built some of the best infrastructure in the industry, so this is strong symbolic move that our open model of development is the best way forward for everyone,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on Thursday.

“Until five years ago, the largest technology companies all designed their data centres and computing infrastructure in secret. They viewed this technology as a competitive advantage to beat others in the industry,” he added.

Facebook realised that if it opened up its designs and shared its progress with the industry, the world will make faster progress together.

“By working together, we’d produce more efficient designs that would save energy, protect the environment and build better infrastructure for our community,” the 31-year-old Facebook founder posted.

It has worked. So far, we’ve saved billions of dollars in energy and efficiency improvements. “Open Compute now brings together hundreds of companies and thousands of engineers to make progress together even faster,” he noted.

According to wired.com, Google was the first company to rethink data centre design for the modern age.

“With the ‘Open Compute Project’, Facebook aimed to create a whole community of companies that would freely share their data centre designs, hoping to accelerate the evolution of Internet hardware and, thanks to the economies of scale, drive down the cost of this hardware,” the report added.

According to Zuckerberg, over the next decade, they are going to build experiences that rely more on technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR).

“These will require a lot more computing power, and through efforts like Open Compute Project, we’re developing a global infrastructure to enable everyone to enjoy them,” he said.

[“Source-Gadgets”]