Google’s logo is seen at the high-profile gathering of startups and high-tech leaders, Viva Tech, in Paris, France, May 16, 2019.
Charles Plates | Reuters
Inside Google, a team of engineers have been working behind the scenes on software for high-speed communications networks that stretch from land to space.
The secret project codenamed “Minkowski” within Google will be unveiled to the public on Monday as a new spinout called Aalyria.
While Google refused to give details about Aalyria such as For example, how long it’s been working on the technology and how many employees are joining the startup, Aalyria said in a press release that its mission is to “hyperfast, ultrasecure, and highly manage complex communications networks spanning land, sea, air, extend into near space and deep space.”
The company says it has laser communications technology “on an exponentially greater scale and at an exponentially greater speed than anything available today.” Aalyria’s software platform has been used in several aerospace networking projects for Google.
The spin-off comes as Google’s parent company Alphabet anticipates a slowdown in ad spending and seeks to advance or wind down experimental projects. In part, that means seeking external funding for some of the projects that have been incubated for years. Companies like life sciences company Verily and self-driving carmaker Waymo have raised money from outside investors, while Alphabet has shut down initiatives like Makani, which built power-generating kites, and internet-beaming balloon company Loon.
Aalyria said it has an $8.7 million commercial deal with the US Defense Innovation Unit. The company is led by CEO Chris Taylor, a national security expert who has led other companies that have worked with the government. According to Taylor’s LinkedIn profile, he is the CEO of a stealth-mode company he founded in November.
Alphabet itself has pursued more lucrative government contracts, earlier this year announcing “Google Public Sector,” a new subsidiary aimed primarily at U.S. government partnerships through Google Cloud.
Aalyria’s Advisory Board includes several former Google employees and executives, as well as Vint Cerf, Google’s top internet evangelist, known as one of the fathers of the internet.
Google will retain a minority stake in Aalyria but declined to say how much it owns and how much debt financing the company has raised. Google said it transferred nearly a decade’s worth of intellectual property, patents and physical assets, including office space, to Aalyria earlier this year.
Aalyria’s light-laser technology, which it calls “Tightbeam,” claims to keep data “intact through the atmosphere and weather, providing connectivity where there is no supporting infrastructure.”
“Tightbeam is radically improving satellite communications, Wi-Fi on planes and ships, and cellular connectivity everywhere,” the company said.
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