Google is planning to expand the internet worldwide with…balloons. The project is named Google Loon.
We may forget this, but a majority of the planet doesn’t have access to the Internet and probably wouldn’t understand that whole “Gangnam Style” or grumpy cat meme. In fact according to Google, around 5 billion people have little to no access to the Internet.
That’s where the company’s latest and very intriguing project comes into play. Introducing Project Loon, “Balloon Powered Internet for Everyone.”
It might seem a little strange, but Google will be launching large weather-type balloons into the stratosphere in the name of global Internet connectivity. These balloons, which are carrying by solar-powered radio transmitters, will then bounce signals from Internet antennas located in stations on the ground and will bring Internet to a variety locations.
The balloons will be traveling on the winds in the stratosphere, known as the 40th parallel, where engineers on the ground will track the locations and paths of the balloons, according to Captain of Google Moonshot, Dr. Astro Teller. Yes, that’s his name.
The project would not only help with access to global Internet but could also benefit cell phone signals for places who initially did not have any.
All in all, this seems like a very interesting project for Google to pursue and may actually be incredibly useful and practical, compared to say, Google Glass or the Driveless Car. In fact, Forbes.com pointed out that it’s actually something that could affect Google’s business side by getting more people online and connected.
There is a practical problem, however. Of those 5 billion people without Internet access, how many of them have the access to computers, smartphones and the like? It’s great to have the tool of information( the Internet) but what about the tool to access that tool (computers, etc.)
Ideally, the project will allow for me people to have access to technology and information. But, how can that come to fruition if that amount of people are not in access to those tools to begin with? Still, this is a promising start and there is a little moment during the project’s information video, reminiscent of the credits of “Monster’s Inc.” The narrator says, “In places where there aren’t enough doctors, everyone could be helped by doctors in other places.” Hopefully, it won’t just be going to WebMD.