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 18.2km above sea level so that the entire world can get on the internet. It’s something straight out of Science Club meetings, 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 and 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 [19.3km] range of the balloons will see if they can get connected from the sky.
How the heck will Google control the balloons? Variable buoyancy, apparently. It means steering by tweaking altitude to find desirable wind currents. That sounds like guessing to me but whatever. [Project Loon, Wired]