You might already know that most of the world population – it’s about two-thirds – couldn’t connect to the internet because of the lack of needed technology and infrastructures in places they live or work. The Project Loon is the Google’s innovative solution to this problem.
In the first stages of the project Google produces thousands of special balloons and launches them to the sky. These balloons will be placed in an altitude of about 30 km which is higher than that of passenger airplanes fly. There, among different wind layers, the balloons could be controlled to adjust their altitude to the suitable layer of wind so that they move in the specific speed and direction.
The Loon balloons create a network which remotely connects to telecommunication companies – working with Google -, and provides users with phones and other compatible devices to have an internet access with speed ranges similar to 3G.
At first it took Google a few days to produce a balloon, according to the engineer in charge of the Project Loon, but recently they have managed to decrease the production time to a few hours using automated systems. This enhancement could ease the way to launch the project at a higher speed.
At the time Google was executing trial experiments with balloons, it has announced that some of them has been up for 6 months, and using their technology they could predict the time and place of their fall.
The cost and monetization method of the project have not been released by Google yet.
Although most people may think of the “Loon” word in the project name as being derived from the balloon word, but Google says it named the project so since it may seem “crazy” and strange to provide internet access to billions of internet-less people.
A farmer in Leeston, New Zealand was the first person to get access to the Google’s “Balloon-powered internet” in the initial stages of the project.
In addition to taking internet to remote and rural areas, the project could be a big help in times of disasters and outages in order to let people go online to access the news and inform others of their situation and necessary actions.
The Project Loon is something that Google has been working on for some time, and in fact it officially was announced in June 2013. Google believes the project will play an important role in decreasing internet connection costs in areas such as Southeast Asia and Africa where it’s expensive to install underground fiber cables.