Google Announces Balloon-Powered Internet With Project Loon [Updates]

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Google announced on Friday that it will release a new product that incorporates balloons and wireless Internet. Dubbed Project Loon, Google explained most of the details in its company blog, but some questions are still left unanswered. Google has been known for both its extravagant April Fools jokes and its unique, useful products. This time around, it has released something that seems somewhere caught in between.

“We believe that it might actually be possible to build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on the stratospheric winds, that provides Internet access to the earth below,” the blog said, “It’s very early days, but we’ve built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster.”

While Google has acknowledged most consumers’ reactions with the title of the project itself, the company has already entered the testing phase. Project Loon launched 30 balloons this week in the Canterbury area of New Zealand with at least 50 testers trying to connect to them.

The project is ultimately designed to connect individuals in remote and rural areas to the Internet using signals from the balloons alone. This could possibly even make wireless mobile phone access available in areas where it would not normally exist.

The goal seems quite similar to the objective of The Serval Project in spirit. However, the vehicle is quite different.

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What do you think of Project Loon? Do you believe Google will succeed? Do you think this will eventually see the trash bin? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

Sources: Official Google Blog via CNET

14 Comments - Write a Comment

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SamKear

This is a very unique way to spread internet throughout remote locations. How long do these balloons remain in the air? Do they require additional helium at some point?

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Max

This is one of the most abstract ideas Google has had, in terms of harnessing nature for a surreal way to spread connectivity throughout the world!

The question is, how long will these balloons stay independent from vandalism or other variables?

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CherylJ

This Idea was already done and failed. Why don’t Google give the people the money they are wasting on this? This just another way Google can spread their ad-sense and data mine peoples information for the NSA.

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Gautam Kumar

there should be a bridge of such balloons covering all asia n amerika

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Leland Whitlock

Ever remember hearing about weather balloons? I believe they started using them to gather weather data and they stayed up a long time. From what I have been told it was quite an event when one would come down and it could bring a whole community together. So I think it is quite doable. And for remote locations with limited infrastructure it seems a good plan as it gives you instant internet without needing extra infrastructure to support it. Good for Google for coming up with creative solutions. My only question is if they will be willing to spend the money needed to keep this going long term. They seem to have a habit of killing perfectly good products.

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Paul Prakash J

Looks very promising idea..though there are quite few problems like powering the system, keeping it still at the atmosphere, user system capabilities to access the network, etc.

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wiigreen

well,the idea is kinda weird but awesome too!

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rakesh

cool and abstract idea!!! now also there are places which are far reach of telecom and internet services…

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Md Mukhtar Mohsin

what if mega storm comes, would they cut the connection to bring ballon safely down ?

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dragonmouth

Google has more money than it knows what to do with so they come up with projects like this one. The name says it all: LOON as in loonie or lunatic.

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kashif faridi

Awsome google with its genious inventions…COOL !!

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skystormfarms

is it called project “loon” because you have to be loony to try this?

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Alfred Lake

I remember as a small boy playing cricket in Antigua, a weather balloon came crashing on the field of play. Curiosity took over and that was the end of play. However, I believe this idea is a feasible but since it is not tethered, it’s likely to shift and become unstable. Whatmore, wouldn’t the environment become contaminated? Drifting out of control could also caused accidents getting in the way of an aircraft flight.

Anonymous

according to the article

“…the blog said, ‘ It’s very early days, but we’ve built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster ‘…”

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