Google X’s latest moonshot is balloon-distributed internet

project loon

From the outside, Google X looks like one of the best places on Earth to work. The mystique of the team, in addition to the history of rolling out projects like self-driving cars and Google Glass, and even the name lend an aura that can be matched by very few others. And at the heart of Google X lies their philosophy regarding the importance of moonshots. Their latest, however, left me wondering if they’re serious or is a way-too-late April 1 gag.

Earlier today, Google introduced the World to Project Loon, which aims to get everyone on the globe connected to the internet. And they do so by providing an internet connection via balloons. Yep, it sounds a bit ridiculous, and had me thinking of Google TiSP initially. But it’s real (at least by the look of it) and Google will be rolling out trials in New Zealand.

Essentially, Project Loon sends a balloon way up into the stratosphere at an altitude twice that of airplanes. People can connect to this balloon via special hardware, and the balloon connects them to the regular internet, making the balloon the host one of the highest routers on the planet.

Do have a look at the video below, which illustrates what Project Loon means to Google. It’s also a great example of why all of us, trolls aside, are so in love with Google: the company seems to always have it’s heart in the right place.

[Project Loon via Google+]

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  • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

    Oh yes, Google’s got a BIG heart… but its arteries are clogged with………. wait for it………… ADS :)

    (edit: My Kerbal’s want some balloons too :))

  • Chimphappyhour

    Meanwhile, the NSA has announced that they are resurrecting their “weather balloon” programs again. :P

  • Sterling Mace

    NSA front company just expanding its reach ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  • scoter man1

    Wasn’t there a lot of hype about this a few years ago. I think they called them strata-lites or something?

    • Michael Lee

      I think I remember something about it. But now it’s finally becoming reality!

      • scoter man1

        At least I’m not the only one.

  • Micha Ols

    This is so clever and cool, because it is so cost efficient when compared to satellites.

  • Jay Rock

    Good! I hope it comes to the states for cheap.

  • http://www.newportessentials.com/ paco cornholio

    With scribbled graphics and a child narrator it must be a great idea.

  • Angus Kroll

    There’s a company in Chandler, AZ that offers similar. It’s called Space Data.

  • AuXroid

    So damned glad I standardized on a Gmail account instead of Yahoo back in the day.

  • Jason Crumbley

    Two words. Solar flare.

  • TheHowiie

    This will be an awesome feat if it’s pulled off.