Inside Google, a team of engineers has been working behind the scenes on software for high-speed communications networks that stretch from land to space.
Codenamed “Minkowski” at Google, the secretive project will be revealed 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 are joining the startup, Aalyria said in a press release that its mission is to manage “hyper-fast, ultra-secure and highly complex communications networks that spanning land, sea, air, near space and deep space.”
The company says it has a laser communications technology “at an exponentially greater scale and speed than anything that exists today.” Aalyria’s software platform has been used in several space network projects for Google.
The dividend comes as Google parent Alphabet anticipates a slowdown in ad spending and looks to advance or wind down experimental projects. This means, in part, that external funding is sought for some of the projects that it has been incubating for years. Companies like life science company Verily and self-driving car maker Waymo have raised money from outside investors, while Alphabet has shuttered initiatives like Makani, which built power-generating kites, and Internet-glowing balloon company 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 stealth-mode company he founded in November.
Alphabet itself has pursued more lucrative government contracts, and earlier this year announced “Google Public Sector,” a new subsidiary targeting 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 outside funding the company has raised. Google said earlier this year it transferred nearly a decade’s worth 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, offering connectivity where no supporting infrastructure exists.”
“Tightbeam radically improves satellite communications, Wi-Fi on planes and ships, and cellular connectivity everywhere,” the company said.
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