What's Google's Project Loon All About?
Ever since Google revealed that it will be sending aloft a grid of solar powered balloons to float just under the edge of outer space, providing inexpensive Internet access to everyone on planet Earth, people have been checking their calendars to see if it's April again.
Google is well-known for its long string of humorous April Fool's gags, but this project, a veritable "moon shot" in scope and potential for historic change, happens to be for real, despite the interesting name.
"It’s very early days, but we’ve built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster." posted Project Lead Mike Cassidy on the Google Blog. "As a result, we hope balloons could become an option for connecting rural, remote, and underserved areas, and for helping with communications after natural disasters. The idea may sound a bit crazy—and that’s part of the reason we’re calling it Project Loon—but there’s solid science behind it."
"While I don’t have any doubts that Google’s mission to connect the world is driven by the profit motive, I still find the idea of pushing for seamless connectivity exciting. Seamless connectivity, as you know, has been a bit of a personal passion for me." said Malik.
Google is sending its first series of balloons over the Canterbury region of New Zealand, and beginning the work of connecting to them regionally. According to their blog, expect more floating above other areas of the globe soon.
So how will it all work? Here's an introductory video from the Google Blog, which has more information:
If you're a Plus user, you can follow Project Loon's page here.
Learn more about Project Loon from Technorati's growing list of tech blogs covering the subject.
Image courtesy Google