Google reportedly buying another drone maker: Titan Aerospace

Summary:But Google is not the only one thought to have been interested in Titan.

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For anyone suggesting the future of technology (or at least where the money is) is in software, hardware still proves to be a hot spot, from 3D printing to drones.

The latter particularly piques the interest (or fears) of the media, analysts, and, increasingly, everyday consumers.

Google looks like it is beefing up its own drone force with another acquisition to kick off the week. The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the Internet giant has made a bid for Titan Aerospace.

The deal is actually noteworthy on a number of levels, from the technology involved, the social and privacy implications, and the business dealings involving the aforementioned parties and then some.

For starters, the New Mexico-based drone maker specializes in producing high-altitude solar atmospheric satellites. The WSJ report suggests that Google will put these unmanned machines to work primarily for Google Maps, Earth, and other projects that require the collection of aerial images.

Google itself has yet to publicly confirm the deal, but it looks like the New Mexico team will be staying put under current leadership.

Google's big push into robotics in general moved into the spotlight last year, led by the father of the Android unit, Andy Rubin.

In December, Google bought Boston Dynamics, which developed a number of robots said to be inspired by animals, for an undisclosed sum. The news broke shortly after Amazon made headlines over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with its own robotic moonshot project, Prime Air drone delivery .

But Google is not the only one thought to have been interested in Titan. Reports swirled as recently as a few weeks ago that Facebook was interested in the private company, founded in 2012, as well.

The social network is moving along with its own drone projects through its new Connectivity Lab , introduced via blog post in March by CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The special department, staffed by the same engineering talent behind Facebook's infrastructure team as well as the Open Compute Project, has been tasked with designing the aerospace and communication components behind Internet.org, Facebook's other pet project to deliver Internet access to virtually anyone and everyone on the planet.

Such an endeavor to reach the most far-flung corners of the world is incredibly expensive, perhaps thought to be impossible until the last few years, if not months.

But that's where the unmanned drones come in, invoking hope that infrastructures and other forms of support can be soon delivered on a massive scale via robotic technology.

Topics: Hardware, Google, Start-Ups, Tech Industry

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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