Google Buys Drone-Maker For Supposedly Non-Evil Reasons

Google announced Monday that it is buying New Mexico-based drone maker Titan Aerospace for an undisclosed sum, the Wall Street Journal reports. If you recognize the name, it's because Facebook was reportedly in talks to buy the same company.

The thing is, Titan Aerospace doesn't exactly have a huge number of drones yet. In fact, the company only has two: the solar-powered Solara 50 and the Solara 60, both of which can reportedly stay in flight for five years. If you're interested, the Solara 50 can carry 70 pounds and the Solara 60 can carry around 250 pounds.

Google plans to use the drones in part for its Project Loon initiative, an attempt to send high-altitude balloons into the sky to connect more of the world to the Internet.

Facebook similarly hoped to purchase the company as part of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's plan to spread the Internet across the world, but don't feel too bad for Zuck. His company acquired a drone-maker called Ascenta for $20 million at the end of March with the same plan in mind.

Facebook and Google have been known to fight to acquire up-and-coming companies. Last year when Facebook offered to buy the photo-messaging app Snapchat for $3 billion, Google was rumored to have offered the company $4 billion.

Google will also likely use the drones to take photos for Google Maps and assist in on the project Makani, in which the company hopes to create an airborne wind turbine that is tethered to the ground as it generates electricity flying through the air.

"It's still early days," a Googles spokesperson told WSJ, "but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation."