This morning in a blog post, Google Lab X announced a new project called Loon that will launch helium-filled balloons acting as mobile Internet hotspots. The balloons will be raised to 20 kilometers (12 miles) into the stratosphere and will beam the Internet down to rural areas as they sail past on the wind.
Still in experimental phase and considered as “moonshot” project amongst the company driveless car and smart glasses endeavors. If Loon is successful, many areas on developing countries will than have access to the Internet at the fraction of the costs compared to landline infrastructure.
“It’s a huge moonshot. A really big goal to go after,” said Google project leader Mike Cassidy. “The power of the Internet is probably one of the most transformative technologies of our time.”
Google’s balloons are powered by solar, fly at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, promising 3G like Internet access. The balloons relay signals from Internet ground stations located about 60 miles apart. Each balloon can cover an area of 780 square miles.
This is the science behind Loon:
A pilot program has been launched in New Zealand with 30 balloons as below shown: