Wow Google X is still at it with their Project Loon – I had thought it was a fancy side project that probably wouldn’t last. I’m kinda happy I was wrong. Providing Internet access to a few billion people at a low cost, is definitely life changing. I couldn’t go for days without some form of broadband. Even when travelling on holiday or work, I’m kinda always decently tethered in the past few years. Quite a big change from my student days when one is really off the grid and scavenging for bits of free wifi at cafes. Free wifi has proliferated, affordable travel SIMs have become the norm, but no I refuse to pay for exorbitantly high cost roaming 3G/4G.
I’m kinda impressed by Project Loon because it seems to innovative – to fly balloons using air streams and send the around the planet. Wow. Science Fiction much. When reality is stranger than science fiction, you know it gotta be real. You can’t make this stuff up. Ethos and values like this are what differentiates Google from Apple. No matter than naysayers are always ranting that the search/advertising company is out to suck up all your data and privacy, that if you aren’t the one paying, you are the product… Google still does a fair bit of good. More than many other companies. Especially filthy rich companies like Apple and the oil / finance companies. Values like this aren’t just started by one department, or one Corporate Social Responsibility programme, it’s really got to come from the mission and CEO and board of directors and shareholders. It’s really not normal to justify such massive expenditures on R&D. Wild R&D. I loathe giving money to Apple because it gets sequestered away in offshore accounts that they cannot touch, because it gets lumped with all the luxury goods money that gold iphones and watches bring.
Apple’s latest ad campaign on their website promotes beautiful photos taken on the iPhone. Yea it’s a good camera on a phone, yea if you’re in the right place with the right skills and the right eyes you’ll take some great photos on actually almost any camera. But conversely Google’s Android ad showed common folk using their tablets and phones and learning things, experiencing life, sharing things, and these are people from all walks of life and different countries, whether they be rich or poor. Android as a platform has brought internet access and smartphone access to many more people who could never have reasonably afforded an iPhone. They probably could if they really had to, but given their income levels, it is super unjust for them to have to dig up that kind of money. USD to local currency exchange rates, income disparities..etc. A schoolkid shouldn’t have to put down $1000 to get a smartphone, a villager shouldn’t have to put down $1000 to make a VOIP call that you get to do for just about free. If iPhones have led to the middle class being able to own the same phone as a celebrity or billionaire, the Android phones have pushed it further down to the next few billion human beings out there. That is something worth promoting and encouraging.
They often say that you have to invest in the young. Invest in them by showing them that you don’t have to be rich and ostentatious to make a difference, to have a fair and equal standard of living.