What if you could access the internet from anywhere in the world? That’s the idea behind Project Loon, Google’s ambitious project run by its secretive X branch to create a global web. The plan is to make use of high-altitude balloons 20 kilometres up to transmit Wi-Fi to the ground, bringing connectivity to the remaining portions of the world that aren’t currently online.
Filled with helium, the balloons are about 15 metres across, beneath them hangs a small box that enables the Wi-Fi signal to transmit to the ground. Running solar power, the balloon can stay aloft for up to 200 days. It has not yet specified when the service will likely come online, whereas a pending patent dispute may delay efforts somewhat. Originally planning to build hundreds, Google now says it can bring the system online with just dozens, using machine learning to direct the balloons to specific areas.
Dozens of the balloons could hover over are going to bring internet to remote areas.
PROJECT LOON How Google plans to bring the whole world online.
If one of the balloons fails, a parachute brings gently to the ground, and its helium is expelled.