With Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites quickly filling up Earth’s orbit and promising low latency, broadband internet access to people living in the most remote corners of the world, it’s easy to forget that physical cables stretched across the ocean floor are still indispensable information super-highways.
Google, in partnership with telecommunications equipment company SubCom, has just announced the completion of one such super-highway between the United States and Europe. Called Dunant, this privately-owned subsea cable spans almost 4,000 miles (6,400 km) from Virginia Beach in the US to Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez, France, offering record-breaking data transfer capacity of 250 terabits per second (Tbps).
“We’re thrilled to say bonjour to the Dunant submarine cable system, which has been deployed and tested and is now ready for service,” writes Chris Ciauri, Google’s President for EMEA, in a blog post.
“The historic landing was made possible in partnership with SubCom, a global partner for undersea data transport, which engineered, manufactured, and installed the Dunant system on schedule despite the ongoing global pandemic.”
The two companies decided to name the subsea cable after Henry Dunant, a Swiss humanitarian, businessman, and social activist who received the first Nobel Peace Prize (together with Frédéric Passy) in 1901.
Google first announced the project in 2018 and expected to complete it in late 2020. The delay was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The tech giant, whose recent record quarterly revenues were largely caused by soaring cloud sales, is also working on a subsea cable between Portugal and South Africa, called Equiano.
“This new cable is fully funded by Google, making it our third private international cable after Dunant and Curie, and our 14th subsea cable investment globally,” stated Michael D. Francois, Tech Lead Manager of Global Network Infrastructure at Google. “Equiano will be the first subsea cable to incorporate optical switching at the fiber-pair level, rather than the traditional approach of wavelength-level switching.”
Both Dunant and Equiano are part of Google’s ongoing effort to improve its cloud network infrastructure and offer better reliability, speed, and security to its customers.
Spotify Is Experimenting With Artist NFT Collections
According to a recent survey, it seems that the currently tested NFT collections are just the first step toward a much broader implementation of NFTs into the platform.
NFT sales may have declined by 92 percent since September 2021, but that’s not stopping Spotify from experimenting with a new feature that lets artists display their non-fungible token (NFT) collections on the music streaming platform.
At the moment, only a small group of artists are taking part in the experiment, including Steve Aoki and The Wombats. What’s more, only select US users of the Spotify app for Android can see NFTs when they visit the profile pages of the aforementioned artists.
“Spotify is running a test in which it will help a small group of artists promote their existing third-party NFT offerings via their artist profiles,” said Spotify spokesperson. “We routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve artist and fan experiences.”
It’s important to point out that not all Spotify experiments result in new features. It all depends on the feedback the music streaming platform receives from users.
According to a survey some Spotify users have recently received, it seems that the currently tested NFT collections are just the first step toward a much broader implementation of NFTs into the platform. More specifically, Spotify seems to be thinking about allowing its users to directly purchase NFT art to support their favorite artists.
Considering how polarizing NFTs have been since their inception in 2014, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many Spotify users have immediately expressed their dissatisfaction with the idea of NFTs becoming part of the Spotify music listening experience.
Other large tech companies are also experimenting with NFTs. Instagram, for example, started testing NFT integration last week, allowing NFT creators and collectors to display their tokens on the platform. Mark Zuckerberg himself believes that NFTs and digital collectibles in general will play an integral role in the metaverse, the new iteration of the internet.