Google spins out secret hi-speed telecom project called Aalyria, and keeps stake in startup

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  • Google’s latest spinout, Aliaria, says it “radically” improves satellite communications, Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity on planes and ships.
  • Alphabet said it transferred nearly a decade of technology, IP, patents, office space and other assets to Aaliyah earlier this year.
  • The startup has secured a government defense contract worth $8.7 million.

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Inside Google, a team of tech experts is working behind the scenes on software for a high-speed communications network that extends from land to space.

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Codenamed “Minkowski” within Google, the secret project is being unveiled to the public on Monday as a new spinout called Aalyria.

While Google declined to give details about Aaleria, such as how long it has been working on the technology and how many employees are joining the startup, Aaleria said in a news release that its mission is “hyper fast, Ultra-secure and highly manageable complex communication networks that span land, sea, air, near space and deep space.”

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The company says it has a laser communications technology “at a greater scale and speed than anything that exists today.” Alia’s software platform has been used in several aerospace networking projects for Google.

The spinout comes as Google parent Alphabet reckons with a slowdown in ad spending and tries to pursue or close experimental projects. That means seeking outside funding for some of the projects it’s incubated over the years. Businesses such as life sciences company Verily and self-driving car maker Waymo have raised money from outside investors, while Alphabet has raised money from outside investors. off Initiatives like Makani, which was building electric-generating kites, and the Internet-beaming balloon business Loon.

Aliaria said it has a commercial contract worth $8.7 million with the US Defense Innovation Unit. The CEO will lead the company Chris Taylor, a national security expert who has led other companies working with the government. Taylor’s LinkedIn profile says he is the CEO of a stealth-mode company he founded in November.

Alphabet itself is pursuing more lucrative government contracts and earlier this year announced “Google Public Sector,” a new subsidiary designed primarily for US government involvement through Google Cloud.

Aalyria’s advisory board includes several former Google employees and executives, as well as Google’s chief Internet evangelist Vint Cerf, known as the father of the web.

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

Aaliyah’s Light Laser technology, which she calls “Tightbeam”, claims to keep data “perturbed through the atmosphere and weather” and provide connectivity where no supporting infrastructure exists.

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

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