What if we could solve our global internet problem with Google balloons?

This is Google Loon:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m96tYpEk1Ao?feature=player_embedded

Today from the Air Force Museum in Wigram Park, New Zealand, Google will launch hundreds of balloons into the air to solve the international crisis of internet connectivity. Google’s Project Loon will bring together Google’s innovative genius and internet usage to the world, by launching these balloons across the globe travelling 20 kilometres about the Earth’s surface. While in the stratosphere, the winds tend to be steady and slow-moving between 5-20 miles per hour. Google will use their own software algorithms to determine where their balloons need to go, then move each balloon into a layer of wind blowing in the correct direction.

googleloon

Google outlines how their technology works on their website. Each unit is powered by 100 Watt solar panels which is enough to keep the unit running and charging all day and continue working overnight. Below the unit is a small box which controls the system, radio antennas and a battery for the aforementioned solar panels.

The balloon can provide enough connectivity to a ground area, 40km in diametre at speeds comparable to 3G. It’s explained a lot better and a lot simpler below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcw6j-QWGMo

Google states their intent is to create “a network of balloons travelling on the edge of space” which will be designed to “connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill in coverage gaps and bring people back online after disasters. In the video above, Google discusses the advantages of using the balloon-powered system such as farmers being able to check more current weather patterns, doctors working with decentralized patients and students being taught online.

While incredibly ambitious, I think Google have the time, money and engineering talent to pull something like this off, hopefully without running into problems with international authorities, birds or planes.

via Google Loon