Google in talks to build "commodity satellites"

In an interesting article about Google sending its Nexus S phone to the edge of space, Zi Wang, a product manager for the Nexus S made a side comment that Google is looking to build commodity satellites. Why is Google looking to build satellites? The answer to this question remains unknown.

The comment comes from newscientist.com, and states "Zi Wang, a product manager for the Nexus S, says that while the launch was just for fun, it likely won't be the last time the technology reaches space. He says Google is in talks with a UK-based satellite manufacturer to build small 'commodity' satellites based on the core Nexus S technology." He also states that the technology inside the Nexus S is powerful enough to power such satellites.

What Google is really looking to do with the satellites is really anyone's guess. Satellites represent an easy way to send information directly to a wide area and cut out all the middlemen which would give Google a direct pipe to its consumer base. But what exactly Google is looking to distribute via the satellites is anyone's guess, it could be TV signals, even possibly a broadband connection, or how about launching the cloud into space, or maybe it's just another way for them to update the advertisements on the websites you're browsing. 

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satellite communications can easily exceed 4Mbit and thats with 10 year old satellites, speed is not an issue with sat comms. Figure out how fast 3X10^8m/s travels 41,500,000 meters - bet its pretty fast.

Theres also things like sirius radio, and gps tracking that use satellites, or just pictures for google earth?

The problem with a network is you have a footprint covering all of North America. 380 million possible users at any time. SO you would likely need 380 satellites covering a fairly small part of the world, and all with a huge backbone land connection.

Ruciz said,
satellite communications can easily exceed 4Mbit and thats with 10 year old satellites, speed is not an issue with sat comms. Figure out how fast 3X10^8m/s travels 41,500,000 meters - bet its pretty fast.

Theres also things like sirius radio, and gps tracking that use satellites, or just pictures for google earth?

The problem with a network is you have a footprint covering all of North America. 380 million possible users at any time. SO you would likely need 380 satellites covering a fairly small part of the world, and all with a huge backbone land connection.

250 ms latency at least, if all the rest went perfect (which means for a tcp packet that you would have to wait more than a second). That's unacceptable for most internet applications.

"Pipe" with regards to a satellite connection is a bit of a stretch. The delay associated with a signal traveling to and from any satellite is very real, and very long in modern communications.

ofincorp said,
SkyNet
Maybe in the long run. But for now, it'd get more people on the internet. They're not doing it 100% for a good cause, because the more people are on the Internet, the more money they make.

You know what I'm thinking? Cell phones. Satellite. Direct to consumer.

They tried it with the Nexus One and failed... but perhaps if they did a better job advertising it and were able to severely undercut the big four carriers (in the US) they could pull it off.

I'd sure love to see that happen.

Silverskull said,
You know what I'm thinking? Cell phones. Satellite. Direct to consumer.

They tried it with the Nexus One and failed... but perhaps if they did a better job advertising it and were able to severely undercut the big four carriers (in the US) they could pull it off.

I'd sure love to see that happen.


You do realize satellite phones are expensive right? I highly doubt google will be able to pull off a satellite based phone network for cheaper than regular cell phone carriers without making significant losses.

Not to mention there wouldn't be a need for it...Satellite phones are designed for use in places where you don't get a phone signal (ie the middle of some desert or top of some mountain).

/- Razorfold said,

You do realize satellite phones are expensive right? I highly doubt google will be able to pull off a satellite based phone network for cheaper than regular cell phone carriers without making significant losses.

Not to mention there wouldn't be a need for it...Satellite phones are designed for use in places where you don't get a phone signal (ie the middle of some desert or top of some mountain).

^^ Or northern Canada..

/- Razorfold said,

You do realize satellite phones are expensive right? I highly doubt google will be able to pull off a satellite based phone network for cheaper than regular cell phone carriers without making significant losses.

Not to mention there wouldn't be a need for it...Satellite phones are designed for use in places where you don't get a phone signal (ie the middle of some desert or top of some mountain).

So it sounds like that is the purpose and they can undercut the cell phone companies without ****ing off main partners.

Here is a link: http://www.marketwatch.com/sto...-firm-investment-2010-11-29

Edited by Jebadiah, Dec 15 2010, 4:30am :

Silverskull said,
You know what I'm thinking? Cell phones. Satellite. Direct to consumer.

They tried it with the Nexus One and failed... but perhaps if they did a better job advertising it and were able to severely undercut the big four carriers (in the US) they could pull it off.

I'd sure love to see that happen.

They'd never work inside a building - how many people do you know that do the majority of their phone calling and texting outdoors?

Joey H said,
They'd never work inside a building - how many people do you know that do the majority of their phone calling and texting outdoors?
Maybe that's why it would continue to also serve as a dual-mode cell phone? Cell phone when you have a signal, and satellite phone if nothing else works?

It's at least interesting.

pickypg said,
Maybe that's why it would continue to also serve as a dual-mode cell phone? Cell phone when you have a signal, and satellite phone if nothing else works?

It's at least interesting.

but but...why? what use would that serve? It would be more expensive to maintain than a regular cell network, the hardware is more expensive, the delays are longer and again why? It serves no purpose whatsoever for 99.9% of the consumer base

XerXis said,
but but...why? what use would that serve? It would be more expensive to maintain than a regular cell network, the hardware is more expensive, the delays are longer and again why? It serves no purpose whatsoever for 99.9% of the consumer base
If you noticed all the VOIP based solutions around you, you might not think about it that way anymore. Google wants to kill off the carriers one way or the other. If you think about it, nobody needs carrier based voice/sms communication solutions anymore, because everything can be done over the Internet. Carriers continue to sell voice/sms plans because they have too much invested in it and they still want to loot people with it. Data plans earn them very little.

Jebadiah said,
If you noticed all the VOIP based solutions around you, you might not think about it that way anymore. Google wants to kill off the carriers one way or the other. If you think about it, nobody needs carrier based voice/sms communication solutions anymore, because everything can be done over the Internet. Carriers continue to sell voice/sms plans because they have too much invested in it and they still want to loot people with it. Data plans earn them very little.

so? what does any of that have to do with sattelite communication? It's a lot cheaper, faster and easier to send data via terrestrial antennaes than using satellites

Jebadiah said,
If you noticed all the VOIP based solutions around you, you might not think about it that way anymore. Google wants to kill off the carriers one way or the other. If you think about it, nobody needs carrier based voice/sms communication solutions anymore, because everything can be done over the Internet. Carriers continue to sell voice/sms plans because they have too much invested in it and they still want to loot people with it. Data plans earn them very little.

Well, mostly correct... except that Cell carriers are making money hand over fist on Data plans (particularly AT&T with the iPhone and Verizon with it's DROID phones.)

/- Razorfold said,

You do realize satellite phones are expensive right? I highly doubt google will be able to pull off a satellite based phone network for cheaper than regular cell phone carriers without making significant losses.

Not to mention there wouldn't be a need for it...Satellite phones are designed for use in places where you don't get a phone signal (ie the middle of some desert or top of some mountain).

I suggest you take a look at LightSquared, a company that is doing just that for mobile broadband. (It's a mix of LTE and satellite connections.)

http://www.lightsquared.com/

Now, just how much their devices will cost I don't know, but once things like that are mass-produced...

Satellites, really?

the technology inside the Nexus S is powerful enough to power such satellites

What does this mean? Certainly not the hardware. If not that then the software? :confuse:

careless_monkey said,
Satellites, really?


What does this mean? Certainly not the hardware. If not that then the software? :confuse:

The hardware certainly is powerful enough. There are older satellites up with less power.

ObiWanToby said,

The hardware certainly is powerful enough. There are older satellites up with less power.

Much less computing power

/- Razorfold said,
In before the "Google wants to spy on you" posts

"Big Google is watching you"...............Kudos for being the first by the way