Google unveils balloon-powered internet, entitled 'Project Loon'

You know what we need? Internet-connected balloons. Seriously, it's not as ridiculous as it sounds, and the Google team behind Project Loon are the ones best suited to explaining that claim. In their above video, they break down the concept of Internet access for 'everybody'.

The idea behind their ambitious plan is to have balloons floating in the stratosphere; about 20 kilometers above earth. From this point, the balloons would be able to amplify their signal for a wider audience of users than previously would have used the Internet.

By all indications the team is approaching the concept seriously, for they're beginning with a pilot run in New Zealand. If you can make it to Christchurch in New Zealand for tomorrow, you might see the balloons taking off at the Festival of Flight. At the bottom of their webpage you can also register interest in testing Project Loon.

Somewhat remarkably, the video comments aren't all that aggressive. There are examples of fanboyism but going from the tone, people actually do want to see Project Loon coming to life. And why not? The concept is exciting, and with Google's massive cash flow, it could be funded.

Source: Project Loon

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Who cares if the Xbox One is spying on you?

Next Story

Windows Store in the leaked Windows 8.1 builds is open

26 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

much better idea is the Microsoft Research Center has come up with, White Spaces, a single tower, to thousands of people, 50km Radius!!!!! nos thats a game changer

They may be taking over the world but Google can sure bring about some nice new tech. I like that they just do it, not afraid to take risks, it's not wonder they've left other tech companies in the dust.

And Apple will sue because they trademarked the MacBook Air, but then Michael "Air" Jordan will stop the entire tech industry in its tracks by covering them all in Hanes underwear.

It could be better than satellite internet but I think the costs will still be high. You can get unlimited of satellite internet anywhere in the world for roughly $1000. This might be better, it could be cheaper but it's hardly revolutionary unless they can get costs under $500 per year for unlimited internet (including hardware).

This is great, but I'm scared if governments shoot down balloons, if other objects like space craft and satellites come and crash into a group of balloons. I am also worried about the waste, with so many balloons needed, some are bound to come down on their own or block the sun if they all suddenly get caught in the right and left drift and cluster together. It will be interesting to see what google does about this.

ians18 said,
This is great, but I'm scared if governments shoot down balloons, if other objects like space craft and satellites come and crash into a group of balloons.

Really? Space craft and satellites? These won't be anywhere near space. Or, incidentally, regular aircraft.


I am also worried about the waste, with so many balloons needed, some are bound to come down on their own or block the sun if they all suddenly get caught in the right and left drift and cluster together.

Your sense of proportion is way way off

rfirth said,
Your sense of proportion is way way off

I don't know how they landed a man on the moon... I mean look how small it is!

rfirth said,

Really? Space craft and satellites? These won't be anywhere near space. Or, incidentally, regular aircraft.

Your sense of proportion is way way off


Hehe, aircraft come nowhere near 20km up in the sky.
And airplanes don't really cause shadows which bother us, and IIRC if they're on their cruising altitudes, they don't even cause noteable shadows.
And these balloons cruise around twice as high.

Shadowzz said,

Hehe, aircraft come nowhere near 20km up in the sky.
And airplanes don't really cause shadows which bother us, and IIRC if they're on their cruising altitudes, they don't even cause noteable shadows.
And these balloons cruise around twice as high.

True, but with millions (or however many ) balloons up in the stratosphere, it won't have *any* effect on earth? Not likely.

rfirth said,

Really? Space craft and satellites? These won't be anywhere near space. Or, incidentally, regular aircraft.

Not talking about planes. Talking about when space craft take off and when satellites break and fall down, having a huge "blanket" of balloons with no definite way to control them (only through unpredictable drifts), if a cluster just so happened to float by in the line of the launching or falling object, that could cause a problem.

rfirth said,
Your sense of proportion is way way off

And you really don't think some of those plastic balloons will one day find their way down in the middle of the ocean?

Trollercoaster said,

Be obsolete in a few years then


Why?
The main reason for example why my country isn't the #1 broadband country int he world by a long distance (we're pretty much tied to Belgium for some reason now) is cause many, many people are still stuck on ancient ADSL (yes v1) connections, or have old <10mb contracts.
And a lot with better connections usually don't use most of the available bandwidth they have besides momentarily and short periods of times (downloading).
3G is fine for most people, since most people just browse, facebook, send an email or 2, whatsapp and take a picture. This usage pattern won't require a 100mb connection.

Shadowzz said,

Why?
The main reason for example why my country isn't the #1 broadband country int he world by a long distance (we're pretty much tied to Belgium for some reason now) is cause many, many people are still stuck on ancient ADSL (yes v1) connections, or have old <10mb contracts.
And a lot with better connections usually don't use most of the available bandwidth they have besides momentarily and short periods of times (downloading).
3G is fine for most people, since most people just browse, facebook, send an email or 2, whatsapp and take a picture. This usage pattern won't require a 100mb connection.

You're talking to someone who only has 3G internet and can't even get 1st gen ADSL at my house.

Take it from me, it's crap.

Google can check if it was for xbox one use too,
and demand extra payment from microsoft, and if not met reduces the bandwith allocated for the xbox one.

more $$$, approved!

Dear Google - please note in your video "Everyone" did not include Australia!

Is that because our government has been promising all that and more with the National Broadband Network it is currently rolling out?