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E-commerce in space!

January 21, 2015

Google recently acquired a stake in Space Exploration Technologies Corp. The corporate transaction shows that the search engine company, which makes most of its revenue from advertising, is willing to to go to space in order to bring its e-commerce services to a wider audience. Whether motivated by revenue or not, bringing the Internet to developing nations that typically do not have Internet access is a good thing.

Google recently acquired a stake in Space Exploration Technologies Corp. The corporate transaction shows that the search engine company, which makes most of its revenue from advertising, is willing to to go to space in order to bring its e-commerce services to a wider audience. Whether motivated by revenue or not, bringing the Internet to developing nations that typically do not have Internet access is a good thing.

Google makes an investment in private rocketry company
The Los Angeles Times reported that both Google and Fidelity invested $1 billion in Space Exploration Technologies – giving them an approximate stake of 10 percent. The capital investment will facilitate the development of new ways to connect people to the internet. The investment by Fidelity speaks to the potential of SpaceX to perform well, at least financially. 

Google’s investment in SpaceX, the private rocketry company founded by Elon Musk, is meant to help Google accomplish its goal of using satellites to bring the Internet to places around the world currently lacking in connectivity. The New York Times noted that SpaceX may dedicate some of the capital for pursuing Mars exploration as well.

“[The investment will] support continued innovation in the areas of space transport, reusability and satellite manufacturing,” SpaceX said in a statement on its website, according to the news source.

Google wants to beat the competition in spreading connectivity 
The LA Times noted that the investment in SpaceX may give Google an edge over the competition, like Facebook, which is also working on projects to bring the Internet to remote areas of the world. Facebook has been experimenting with drones, satellites and lasers to this end and has also partnered with telecom providers in developing nations.

As part of the deal, Don Harrison, Google’s Vice President for corporate development, will soon join the board of SpaceX. In a statement, Harrison explained how Google will leverage SpaceX’s technology.

“Space-based applications, like imaging satellites, can help people more easily access important information, so we’re excited to support SpaceX’s growth as it develops new launch technologies,” said Harrison, according to The NY Times.

Google recently unveiled another project that is meant to facilitate connectivity. Project Loon, according to The LA Times, is a network of balloons designed to connect people to the web in remote areas. Regardless of the technology, it is clear that the Internet giant is set on making sure there are no areas of the world where Google is not a recognizable name.

While some would argue that these efforts are motivated by increasing revenue, it does seem that there is a hint of altruism in the endeavor. Bringing Internet to developing nations means that people who normally do not have have access to information and educational materials may one day be on par with the rest of the world. It is interesting to consider, however, how far e-commerce has come. From the Kalahari desert to deep space, it seems that e-commerce knows no bounds.  

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