Balloon-powered internet access for all: Google unveils “Project Loon”

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Google X Labs, inventors of Google Glass, unveils yet another one of its secret experiments, Project Loon.

Essentially, Project Loon is a balloon that will allow you to connect to the Internet wherever you are. No, this isn’t the typical helium-inflated, string-held, colorful floating delight you see in parties or being sold at the park. These are special “balloons” that that float in the stratosphere (a layer of the atmosphere that’s twice as high as airplanes could reach). This is Google’s answer to the ever-growing need of internet access all over the world.

The “balloons” are carried around the Earth through the wind. People can connect to it through a special antenna attached to their houses or on buildings. The signals will bounce from one balloon to the other, then to the worldwide internet, then back on Earth, thus bridging coverage gaps.

“We believe that it might actually be possible to build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on the stratospheric winds, that provides Internet access to the earth below,” wrote project head Mike Cassidy.

“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. 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.”

Here’s a video explaining how Google Project Loon works:

A group of Project Loon pioneers will start an experimental pilot in New Zealand this June 2013, launching in Christchurch and Canterbury.

To know more about the project visit

Sources: Google Blog, CNET, TechRadar