Google splits off its covert Aalyria high-speed telecom project and retains a share in the firm

Within Google, behind the scenes, a group of technologists have been developing software for high-speed communication networks that reach into space.

The top-secret research, known internally at Google as “Minkowski,” will be made available to the public on Monday under the name Aalyria.

In a press release, Aalyria stated that its goal is to handle “highly, super, and extremely complex communications networks that span land, sea, air, near space, and deep space.” Google turned down to provide information about Aalyria, such as how long it has been acting on the technology or how many staff members are looking to join the startup.

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

The spinout comes as Google parent Alphabet reckons with a slowdown in ad spending and looks to advance or wind down experimental projects. That in part means seeking external funding for some of the projects that it’s incubated for years. Businesses such as life sciences company Verily and self-driving car maker Waymo have raised money from outside investors, while Alphabet has shuttered initiatives such as Makani, which was building power-generating kites, and internet-beaming balloon business Loon.

Google will continue to hold a small investment in Aalyria, but it would not disclose how much of the firm it owns or how much external financing it has received. Google said that it gave Aalyria access to roughly ten years’ amount of patents, physical assets, and copyrights earlier this year.

Data will be kept “unaffected across the atmosphere and weather and offered connection where no associated infrastructure resides,” according to Aalyria’s “Tightbeam” light laser technology.

According to the business, “Tightbeam greatly enhances satellite communications, Wi-Fi on ships and aircraft, and cellular connectivity wherever.”