Google spins out secret high-speed telecom project called Aalyria

The logo of Google is seen at the high-profile startups and high-tech leaders, Viva Tech, in Paris, France on May 16, 2019.

Charles Plate | Reuters

Inside Google, a team of technologists has been working behind the scenes on software for high-speed communications networks that stretch from land to space.

Codenamed “Minkowski”[ads1]; at Google, the secret project will be unveiled to the public on Monday as a new spinout called Aalyria.

While Google declined to offer details about Aalyria, such as how long it has been working on the technology and how many employees will join the startup, Aalyria said in a press release that its mission is to manage “hyper-fast, ultra-secure and highly complex communications networks that span countries , sea, air, near space and deep space.”

The company says it has a laser communication technology “at an exponentially greater scale and speed than anything else that exists today.” Aalyria’s software platform has been used in several space network projects for Google.

The spinout comes as Google parent Alphabet anticipates a decline in ad spending and looks to advance or wind down experimental projects. That means, in part, seeking external funding for some of the projects it has been incubating for years. Companies such as life sciences company Verily and self-driving car maker Waymo have raised money from outside investors, while Alphabet has shelved initiatives such as Makani, which built power-generating kites, and internet-radiating balloon business Loon.

Aalyria said it has an $8.7 million commercial contract with the US Defense Innovation Unit. The company will be led by CEO Chris Taylor, a national security expert who has led other companies that have worked with the government. Taylor’s LinkedIn profile says he is the CEO of a company in stealth mode that he founded in November.

Alphabet itself has pursued more lucrative government contracts and earlier this year announced “Google Public Sector,” a new subsidiary aimed at U.S. government partnerships primarily through Google Cloud.

Aalyria’s advisory board includes several former Google employees and executives as well as Vint Cerf, Google’s chief internet evangelist who is known as one of the fathers of the web.

Google will retain a minority stake in Aalyria, but declined to say how much it owns and how much external funding the company has raised. Google said earlier this year it transferred nearly a decade of intellectual property, patents and physical assets, including office space, to Aalyria.

Aalyria’s light laser technology, which it calls “Tightbeam,” claims to keep data “intact through the atmosphere and weather and offers connectivity where no supporting infrastructure exists.”

“Tightbeam radically improves satellite communications, Wi-Fi on planes and ships, and cellular connectivity everywhere,” the company said.

SEE: A ride in a self-driving Waymo

Google spins out secret high-speed telecom project called Aalyria

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