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+]

Raveesh Bhalla

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  1. 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 :))

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

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

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

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

      1. At least I’m not the only one.

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

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

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

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

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

  10. Two words. Solar flare.

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

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