Google reveals plans to bring internet to the masses using balloons

By , Jun 15, 2013

Project_Loon_Balloon

Google’s ‘X’ division has gained a reputation for making the seemingly impossible, possible. The not-so-secret lab is responsible for churning out a number of innovative projects, including self-driving cars and more recently, Google Glass.

Yesterday, the search giant unveiled X’s next ‘moonshot’ venture called Project Loon. The idea behind Loon is to let loose a ring of balloons, outfitted with cellphone tower-like tech, in the sky in an effort to provide internet to the masses…

Google explains the ‘Why’ behind the project in a blog post:

“The Internet is one of the most transformative technologies of our lifetimes. But for 2 out of every 3 people on earth, a fast, affordable Internet connection is still out of reach. And this is far from being a solved problem.

There are many terrestrial challenges to Internet connectivity—jungles, archipelagos, mountains. There are also major cost challenges. Right now, for example, in most of the countries in the southern hemisphere, the cost of an Internet connection is more than a month’s income.”

But the ‘X’ team says that they believe they can solve these challenges with balloons. In fact, they’ve already started building a system that uses balloons, carried by stratospheric winds at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes.

The balloons are capable of beaming internet down to people on the lands below with a connection speed that is, they say, similar to today’s 3G networks or faster. And they’re powered by nothing more than wind and solar energy.

Here’s a couple of videos that offer more details on Loon:

Google is currently running pilot tests in Canterbury, New Zealand, where 50 people are trying to connect to the Internet using the balloons. As the system gets refined, they’ll set up additional pilots in other countries and search for partners.

This is the kind of stuff that I love about Google. Project Loon is an ‘out-of-this-world’ kind of concept, but the research alone will benefit millions of people. Internet connectivity can work wonders for an area that didn’t previously have it.

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  • Boss

    Sponsored by NSA

    • EpicFacepalm

      I would try that in online games for a lagfree experience.

      I wouldn’t care if NSA knows which games I play.

      • Micaiah Martin

        Well while you play your games NSA would be going through your whole system.

      • EpicFacepalm

        Well, yes but I’ve firewalls and I can configure my VPNs to whitelist my games, don’t forget I used plurals. Every ISP is tracked already, sadly.

  • http://jorgesilvestrini.com/ Jorge Silvestrini

    Cutting edge technology… Nice!

  • iphone4sgamer

    Loonacy !!

  • Michele Massi

    So google nose was just an April prank but then they manage to do this futuristic stuff? What the actual f**k Google??
    Awesome job anyway, I really respect this company.

    • Hi

      Knowing Google, I could actually see them managing to make the Google Nose prank a reality on Chromebooks in the future.

      • Falk M.

        The technology is actually already there.
        Not even super new…

  • seyss

    they just want you to feel they are the good guys

    • milksop held

      Oh shut up!

    • Joseph

      Or good guys doing good things. Jackass. I don’t see Apple doing this.

  • Dave Elg

    Watching redtube via a balloon based internet connection? The future is officially here.

  • ExRoot

    Absolutely fascinating!!!!!!

    • ExRoot

      Why the thumbs down! WTF!

      • Kartik Dhawan

        xD!

      • Mahjikk

        Welcome to the Internet.

  • Dady King

    Wat if Air escape from balloon then..

  • M Last

    this project like Google Nose

  • Cesar D

    It would be a shame that someone will decide to prick….

  • Canchume

    maybe google is the ancestor of the matrix

  • F P

    Stupid

  • rosssimpson

    Its cute, but birds.

    • Hi

      *Hadn’t watched the video at the time of writing this comment. I edited the comment in fear of sounding stupid. Trust me, it did sound stupid*

      • williamanthony

        “…altitudes twice as high as commercial planes.”

      • Hi

        Yeah, just watched the video. My fault, I feel really dumb, haha.

    • Necter

      Are u kidding me. A very small species of birds are known to fly mostly at d lower part of the stratosphere. This balloon will be designed to fly at the top part of the stratosphere bordering the mesosphere where the earth wind currents are in revolution. This is a very fastastic concept. What I don’t know is if it would be turned into a human right issue, tyrany and corruption.

  • Ricky

    Great project! I hope this thing work

  • Osama Muhammed

    im just aware of the hack/spy attmepts at its users, also this would be awesome and hard to imagine such a thing for free

  • Mark

    I love the idea.. How fast is the connection gonna be? How am i going to connect with my mobile? It’ll be cool if google will provide a public data access regarding each baloon’s stats, realtime location etc… So we can track

  • David Hvilivitzki

    POP

  • Tim Cook

    Keep it up

    • Tardroid

      O.o

  • notewar

    This idea is insanely think out of the box…..but its super cool if its actually working

  • Gus Me

    Very cool idea, looking forward to see this take off…

  • Barnez Hilton

    literally SkyNet

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