Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startup Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startups, parties, and interesting people. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, and Google+.
Google is reportedly working on a way to connect more people around the world to the Internet, specifically those in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the search engine company is looking to build wireless networks in emerging networks through TV airwaves, making it possible to connect where wired Internet isn’t available.
It’s believed that Google will be partnering with local companies to build out these networks. It has been talking with regulators in South Africa and Kenya to look at the current laws in the country to see if this network can be built “en masse.” Sources tell The Wall Street Journal that Google has also been working on new microprocessors and low-cost Android smartphones to help those that can’t afford devices that many in more resource-rich countries can.
This isn’t the first time Google has explored being a good global company. At the Google I/O developer conference, co-founder and CEO Larry Page spoke at its keynote and said “technology should do the hard work, so people can get on doing the things that make them happiest in life.”
He spoke about a technology utopia that he envisioned Google playing a part in, which is supported by its X division. The company has been investing in moonshot technology, such as the self-driving automobile and, most recently, Google Glass. The goal, according to Astro Teller, Google X’s director, is to find something that is a huge problem for humanity and look for ways to fix it.
While there are many countries in the world that enjoy high-speed Internet, there are still those that don’t even have access to it, mostly because of the lack of infrastructure, not due to government interference. Reports show that Google is working on making “special balloons or blimps, known as high-altitude platforms” to transmit signals to an area of hundreds of square miles.” The company is also looking at developing a satellite-based network, but acknowledges that a given solution won’t necessarily work in every market it’s targeting.
Google has spent its resources and technology to better connect people with one another, specifically in the areas of education. It has donated its Chromebooks to schools to help students learn, made its Google Apps software available to encourage knowledge sharing, and more. It has also created a Crisis Response team to help in the event of disasters around the world to help people find out what’s happening and get the latest news.
Additionally, it can’t go without being said that this is certainly similar to Google’s effort to bring faster Internet in the US, having launched its Fiber service last year in Kansas City, Missouri. Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah have lined up to be the next two supported cities.
Photo credit: KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images
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