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From the Weekend: Project Loon is Google’s Attempt to Bring Internet to the World Using Balloons

project loon

Over the weekend, Google introduced their new moonshot from the Google[x] team called Project Loon, and boy is it a big one. The focus is on the reality that there are massive holes in internet coverage throughout the world. In fact, in many areas there isn’t an internet connection to be had at all or if there is one, it’s seen as nothing more than an incredibly expensive luxury. So how can they attempt to change this? With balloons. Lots of balloons floating 20km above the Earth (in the stratosphere) and traveling easily through layers of wind. Seems crazy, right? It’s already in testing. 

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Outside of being able to sell ads if the internet is in more locations, Google is selling Project Loon with the idea that education, support for small businesses, and medical care can all happen in disconnected parts of the world thanks to solar-powered balloons. They already have specially made internet antennas that attach to buildings on the the ground, which can then transmit signals to networks of balloons in the air. Those balloons then attach to an internet service provider which can produce 3G-type data speeds. So no, we’re not talking LTE or next-gen speeds as of right now, but that’s not the point at this time. Just having 3G in an area of the world that has never tasted the internet before, is quite the idea.

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The Project Loon team has already begun testing a balloon network down in New Zealand. Last week alone they launched 30 balloons and have some 50 people trying to connect to them. From here, they are hoping to find other locations to test that are in the same latitude as New Zealand. This first major test, though, will help them greatly improve balloon designs and prepare for next steps.

It’s a massive project that could be life changing to many – the exact point of a moonshot.

To learn more, be sure to watch both videos that we have included, and also feel free to hit up the source link.

Via:  Google Blog

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  • http://www.hammertechnologies.net/ Chase Johnson

    sooooo the balloon stay put?

  • epps720

    Great video!

  • Francis Napala

    Network in the sky?
    Network… sky…
    Sky… network…
    !

    • ragnarok180

      netsky? I don’t get it… :(

      • Flyinion

        Skynet………………..

        • ragnarok180

          jk lol :)

  • Tobi De la Cuz

    Microsoft needs to listen to the first 2 minutes of that video so they can know how many people are actually online in the world. Then they can rework the “You need to have internet to use the Xbox ONE” thing.

    • michael arazan

      Boycott the Xbox One

      • chris420o

        im preordering xbox one…bc itll be amazing compared to ps4 with better games…get over the 24hr check jesus people are so silly

        • Jeff C

          aside from a power outage my 360 was never offline. i wanna know all these people who dont have internet. bring Loon to the US, i think they need it.

          • chris420o

            seriously i never heard of so many lil kids look for a reason to hate something that in all honesty is irrelevant…even if u dont have internet u can tether from a cellphone or something for 2 secs to let it check in yeah thats a hassle but seriously come on this is the future where everythign will be connected i for one am all about not dealing with scratched discs anymore and all that nonsense install n play like a computer is the way to go

          • Tobi De la Cuz

            But like Google said… for every 1 person that has internet, there are 2 that dont and not everyone is technical enough to tether from a cellphone. ALSO how many people in the military who are deployed do you know that have an internet / cellphone signal where they are deployed? Imagine an uninformed parent/spouse sending their loved one based overseas an XBOX One. They will basically send them a 500 dollar paperweight.

      • chris420o

        welcome to the future where everyone is always connected…people love steam for pc gaming…xbox is trying to do the same thing…people need to read more befoer they wanna talk nonsense n dismiss a product bc it wanst to verify you actually purchased your games which u should have and the developers who put a smile on ur face get paid to do so….also when you cut out the middle man xbox will be able to offer downloads of games for cheaper then buying in store…so whos gonna complain then…oh yeah gamestop

        • MK17

          I had to stop reading you comment because your writing was just that bad.

          • chris420o

            its called being at work and typing fast and not caring how it comes out as long as the points accross…your not worth my time checking my spelling and grammer

  • joejoe5709

    Oh wow. That’s quite the project! Congrats to Google for trying this out!

    Then again… this seems one step closer to Google’s SkyNet aspirations.

    • michael arazan

      Would like to know about people in third world countries will get service but for how long? Are these balloons tethered? Do any of these people have computers that will even be able to access the network or does the majority even have a computer to begin with?

      • epps720

        My thoughts exactly. Most these people are probably struggling to put food on the table, where are they going to muster up the funds for a computer or smartphone.

      • David

        I think you have to have a wider scope. Not all of the answers are at the ready. What this project will do is create possibilities that are not currently there. For instance, no one is really eager to bring computers and/or smartphones to third world countries, despite the huge potential in the fields of education and medicine, because they do not have Internet access. However, if they did have Internet access, new things become possible. Maybe not for the individual at first, but it might start with one computer per large group of people (village, business, or other institution).
        Furthermore, this is not just about third world countries. There are locations in first world countries that do not have network coverage. There is a potential to cover these areas – think deserts, forests, mountains, et c.
        I see this as one step to create the potential for many other ideas.

        • joejoe5709

          Exactly. There is huge potential here if they can make it simple, reliable, and relatively inexpensive.

          Yeah! Good point! It could it could be a great option for small towns in the middle of nowhere, cabins in the woods, research missions, etc even here in the first world countries.

          I would like to see two things: a rugged semi-portable receiver that could run off of batteries and/or solar power if needed. This would mean truckers, hunters, and explorers would always have access. It could actually save lives! And a strong repeater option so that you can have a single main receiver in a town/village that can blast the signal for a mile or two like a mini cell phone tower. I’m sure this technology exists, but it would have to be inexpensive and easy to install in all sorts of conditions.

  • Flyinion

    This sounds a bit…………….loony…………

    (hey, someone had to say it :) )

    edit: It IS a really cool idea though.

  • Kevin N

    Cant innovate my ass!

    • Forgreforn1932

      This is why I’d love to work at Google. They’re always doing cool things and try to think outside the box. Good for them

    • Speedyrulz

      You must have an impressive ass.

  • Jeff

    I think that it is awesome that Google is thinking outside of the box and trying to get internet to all. I guess I’m surprised that they didn’t launch satellites… (thinking outside the box is great) We will see how this turns out..

    • Daniel Russell

      Satellites are expensive…. Balloons (basically big weather balloons) are not.

    • joejoe5709

      Maybe in the near future. This is a cheap way to introduce the idea and test the actual viability of this concept. Give it 5-10 years and Google might think about it. By then we’ll all be linked into their Google Fiber and driving their autonomous cars with Google Glass and checking our Google Watch for the time. ;-) Good Lord the future is awesome.

  • Chris Hollenbeck

    They may get some interference from all of those drones flying around.

    • michael arazan

      At every minute through out the day, there are at least 16 drones flying in the air, said a retired general on the news.

  • El_Big_CHRIS

    This is why I’d love to work at Google. They’re always doing cool things and try to think outside the box. Good for them

  • TowelieMeBanana

    Then you have not been paying attention to Google’s April Fool’s pranks.