Google Loon – the balloon-powered Internet
Google seems to be really pushing reliable internet access to everyone. From the promising Google Fiber which gives users 1Gbps of download and upload speeds to this, the Google Loon.
As far as we know, Google Loon is one of the project of Google X, the “secret” division of Google that handles the not-so publicly announced and also the most advance projects by the company. Among these are the Project Glass (now Google Glass) and the Google Driverless Car. This project has the potential to provide internet access for developing nations that can’t afford to lay fiber cables or places that it can’t reach.
Loon works with a balloon sent high up to the stratosphere, which is higher than common airplanes’ reach. Then a receiver is installed within the user’s home that connects with the balloons. Now, these interconnected balloons floating smartly in the sky is connected with the local internet service provider creating a cloud network. Each balloon can provide 3G comparable speeds within a 20km radius. Mind you that the each balloon communicates with each other, so they know how far each are and moves to a certain location as needed. Also, they use specific bands for the receivers on the ground to read.
Watch the beautiful introduction video below made by Google themselves to understand what this is about.
So far, Google Loon is a promising project with good heart for people who needs internet connection. Like any, this is not a project without a concern: since Google is the largest advertising network, having more users means wider reach for their ads. But let’s not look commercially, because this is a ground breaking or maybe “sky breaking” opportunity for developing countries.
As of now, the town of Christchurch in New Zealand is currently where the initial trial is.
More info at www.google.com/loon