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Google reveals "Project Loon", set to bring balloon-powered Internet to the world
Google on Friday has taken its quest to bring the Internet to the entire world one step closer with the unveiling of “Project Loon”. Project Loon is another idea that comes from the Google X labs, and is designed to connect even people in the most remote regions of the globe to the Internet, via giant balloons that circle the globe at 60,000 feet in the air.
The balloons are made of polyethylene, run completely on solar power, are 15 metres wide and weigh about 22 pounds, providing Internet at speeds which are “similar to today’s 3G networks or faster”.
The balloons will provide Internet at speeds which are similar to today's 3G networks or faster.
Since the balloons will drift, Google uses “complex algorithms and lots of computing power” to ensure that “when one balloon leaves another enters,” meaning that the balloons are always where they are needed.
The balloons communicate with “specialized antennas” on the ground, simultaneously communicating with other balloons up in the air and the ground station, which is connected to the local Internet service provider, creating a “network in the sky”.
There is already a small-scale program running in Christchurch, New Zealand, where 50 testers are already connected. Eventually, Google hopes to have bands of these balloons circling the globe.
The idea is certainly a little crazy (which could be the inspiration for the name), but if it can gain traction it will fulfill Google’s vision of connecting the 5 billion people who still don’t have access to the Internet, with the rest of the world.
Do you believe Project Loon will be able to connect the whole world?