Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Project Loon

      Project Loon is a project being worked on by Google.  The mission of this project is to ensure that everyone in every corner of the world has internet access.  Their plan to make this happen is to fly a bunch of balloons up in the stratosphere holding solar-powered electronics to send internet signals to people all over the world.  Google says that only sixty percent of the world has internet access right now and their goal is to make that one hundred percent.  They hope by flying these balloons around the world will be the answer to worldwide internet connectivity.
      In order for this project to be successful, Google has to make an effective model of the balloon.  As the blog stated, the balloons are made of a light weight rubber material surrounding a solar-powered bundle of electronic devices that send internet signals back down to the surface of the earth supplying people with high-speed internet.  The balloons are roughly fifteen meters wide, and fly roughly twenty kilometers in the air.  These balloons hover high up in the air using helium in order to provide internet when needed.  The blog also goes on to talk about the competition that it faces in this field.  Facebook is beginning to use drones to do the same thing as the Google balloons do.  Google is trying to spread its ad campaign throughout the U.S. and abroad.  The particularly tough part of this campaign is reaching out to the poor part of the world who would need this internet connection.  The final point that this blog makes is the price of this project.  Google claims that the technology is finally cheap and reliable enough to make this project a widespread thing in the near future.  This project seems extremely promising in the fact that no one will ever need to worry about being in an internet dead zone again.  By the time the project peaks, every corner of the earth will have internet connectivity.
      There are a few things that I believe the article does not cover.  For example, it does not address how the balloons will function in inclement weather.  Additionally, it does not talk about what kind of connectivity these balloons will be able to carry.  According to the project's website, the balloons will carry LTE and can connect to any device including computers and smartphones.  Finally, the article doesn't cover how Google will control the movement of the balloons.  I am interested in how Google can move the balloons way up in the stratosphere.  I think that this project is very promising and I look forward to seeing how effective this project can be.



  1. Matt, this is a very interesting article and extremely revolutionary in this time of technology. It is comforting to think that no matter where you or anyone else is that you could have internet connection (especially in the case of getting lost). It seems as though everyone has a smart phone nowadays so this new all inclusive internet access would be accessible to billions of users. The only downfall to the article and Google's new technology I found was that of what you touched on, inclement weather. The article states that the balloons are now cheap enough so that they could be spread around the planet, however, I was wondering if they are also cheap enough to be reproduced in case of one or more being destroyed by mother nature. Lastly, tying in with the problem posed by mother nature, I wonder how this balloons would be coordinated and placed around the planet away from commercial and private airplanes. Coming back to where I said it was comforting knowing you could always have internet connection; that reassurance dwindles thinking that one of these balloons could be harmed or not working in that time you need it most.

  2. As amazing as this concept is, it seems almost like a fairy tale. Because of the lack of detail on how the balloon would function and how it would connect to the public, it seems unlikely that Google would be able to get much funding for this project. At the moment, it seems like Google has more research to do before they have a solid concept.
    That being said, I believe that Google's concept would be revolutionary if successful. The idea of this type of technology being cost effective and available to everyone in the world is something everyone can get on board with. The first step Google should take at this time would be trials. If they can get a few balloons to work over a year or so in an area that is struggling with regards to internet connection, they can move on with the project. This trial could allow them to observe what kinds of flaws the balloons have and do their best to make the balloons as durable as possible. This will not only help the initial success of the project but also keep the project going for years to come.

  3. Hey Matt, your write up has intrigued me on multiple levels. As the world becomes more technological we are constantly coming up with new ways to improve connectivity to the internet. Googles idea to have wifi balloons seems to best benefit those in underdeveloped countries. Although the idea seems futuristic in many regards, it doesn’t seem practical. Putting balloons into the sky is problematic, they float, fly away, and will eventually need a refill in helium. I don’t see how this project would work unless they are somehow anchored into the sky. Could there be any other better solutions like satellites? More radio towers? Like you said Matt, how will these balloons fair in inclement weather? Looking away from the negatives, these balloons have potential. They are probably more cost effective than building a radio tower, and much easier to set up a network of connectivity across a certain range. I’m looking forward to seeing how this project progresses!

  4. Matt, I find your blog to be quite intriguing. I had never previously heard of Project Loon until I read your piece. I feel that this could be an incredible innovation and open doors that were previously unimaginable. These balloons are fascinating, and could do a lot of good for millions of people worldwide. One thing that struck me in your post was when you questioned how the balloons were controlled and what would happen to them in inclimate weather. Upon further research, I found that these balloons are controlled by software that adjusts their flight path according to the wind currents of that day. Also, these balloons are projected to fly at heights of up to 12 miles in the sky. This avoids the problem of inclimate weather because the clouds that hold rain in these cases do not reach heights of more than 5 miles. I hope this information helped clear up some of your questions. I, like you, am extremely excited to see what Google is able to accomplish in the future with the use of these balloons.

    1. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34660205


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