Google Wants to Use Balloons to Cover the World in Wi-Fi

Illustration for article titled Google Wants to Use Balloons to Cover the World in Wi-Fi

If you go deep inside the desert or climb a mountain or find yourself in the South Pole or a remote farm or any place that can be considered "the middle of nowhere," guess what? You have no internet. Well, Wired is reporting that Google wants to change all that by sending high-altitude balloons into the stratosphere to give the world Wi-Fi. Whoa.


Because of course Google would dream something as impossible and radical as cloaking the world in balloons 60,000 feet above sea level so that the entire world can get on the Internet. It's something straight out of meetings about the future—something rooted in conversations between smart people who only ask each other, "but why not?"—something even Google itself admits is crazy by calling it Project Loon.

What is Project Loon, exactly? Only a plan to get hundreds—nay, thousands—of high-pressure balloons to circle the Earth and given internet to billions of people on Earth. It's part of Google's famed Google X Lab which is bringing the world Google Glass and self-driving cars. Wired reports:

It is an audacious proposal, and today in Christchurch, Google is holding a press conference with New Zealand's Prime Minister to formally unveil it. Google will also stage Project Loon’s biggest trial yet: 50 testers in Christchurch within the 12-mile range of the balloons will see if they can get connected from the sky.

How the heck will Google control the Internet giving balloons? Variable buoyancy, apparently. It means steering by tweaking altitude to find desirable wind currents. That sounds like guessing to me but Google insists it's controlled better than that. Google lets the balloons fly naturally but also will move them up or down to catch winds in the direction Google wants the balloons to travel in. The balloons will be carried by wind at altitudes twice as high as planes and "beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster."

Read the whole report about the current testing of the Google Wi-Fi Balloons at Wired. Learn more about Project Loon at Google. And wonder what seemingly unsolvable problem Google wants to solve with the future with us down below. [Project Loon, Wired, Image Credit: Wired]


If Google really cared, they'd do things like help provide food and water to people rather then just try and force their data collection on to more people.