Google's Project Loon uses giant balloons to bring affordable Internet

On May 24, we reported on a tip that Google plans to launch wireless Internet service in emerging markets that have little or no access to the Internet. While the leaked details were extensive, one bit stuck out among the rest: the use of balloons to transmit signals over long distances. At least that aspect of the rumor has turned out to be true, with Google announcing the method as Project Loon.

According to Google, two of every three individuals on Earth either do not have access to the Internet, or don't have access to a connection that is both fast and within their financial means – in some areas, individuals are faced with prices equal to more than a month's paycheck. This issue isn't going to resolve itself without thinking outside of the box, according to the company, and that is where the balloons come in.

These balloon systems would be sent up into the sky at a height double that of your average commercial airplane, and from such a position would rain upon those below a fast Internet connection that would otherwise be unattainable or expensive due to being in a remote location or other factors. The system is still in the very early stages, Google advises, but it has already built a system.

The balloons would form a ring, according to the announcement, and would be moved around via the stratospheric winds that far up. From the balloons' high standpoint, they would serve the location below with a wireless Internet connection that provides speeds equal to 3G mobile connections at a minimum. Interestingly enough, this would also help to provide Internet connections in locations where the land has been harmed by a natural disaster.

The balloons wouldn't be tied down, which is obvious from the height at which Google plans to release them. Instead, they'll be equipped with systems that allows Google to control them remotely, moving them up or down as necessary to the winds that will take them to their desired location. This, says the Internet giant, is currently being worked out via "complex algorithms and lots of computing power."

Sound a bit loony? Google says that is why they named it Project Loon.

SOURCE: Google Official Blog