As any resident of Easter Island or Nauru already knows, getting good internet in the middle of the Pacific Ocean can be difficult. That’s why Google – which is a pretty big part of the internet, in case you didn’t know – wants to help these remote islands get better connections.
Google’s new idea called Project Loon is so crazy that it might actually work. With Project Loon, Google plans to fly massive air balloons over the world. These balloons will spew internet connections onto the lucky residents of Earth below.
The balloons will fly at an altitude of 60,000 feet, which is well beyond the altitude of commercial aircraft. At that altitude, the balloons will be able to “harness the natural energies of the wind and the sun to create a world-wide web of connectivity.”
Google’s project wouldn’t be possible without the companies massive computing power and access to government wind data, both of which will help the balloons navigate around the world.
The balloons will deliver 3G internet to the people below. Check out this video to understand how Project Loon works:
One interesting thing about that video is that the majority of the world doesn’t have access to internet. The video explains that 5 or 6 billion people remain without internet in 2013. Crazy!
Amazingly enough, Google will remotely control the balloons by ascending and descending into opposing stratospheric wind channels. Google’s Loon Command Center can choose where balloons go, how they land, and more.
Where will Loon go?
Right now, Project Loon is in its early stages of development. The internet giant recently launched 30 Google balloons in the skies over Canterbury, New Zealand. There’s something special about the latitude of Canterbury, New Zealand that makes it ideal for testing high-flying balloons, and Google expects that people who live along the same latitude as that area will get access to Project Loon before others.
So congratulations, residents of southern Argentina, Tasmania, and Chile! Look in the skies over the next few months and you may be able to spot a Google balloon or two.
This is a very cool innovation from the company that is also bringing us Google Fiber, self-driving cars, and other tech innovations. The best part about Project Loon is how easy it is to make puns about it. Because if this project takes off, the sky’s the limit.