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Just a year After Launch, Google’s Project Loon Provides 10x the Bandwidth

June 16, 2014 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Last year, Google announced a pretty crazy project. It’s called Project Loon, and it’s basically balloons that bring free internet to you. These balloons fly around the world giving you internet access. Pretty crazy right? Google launched 30 balloons last year and since then have been working to refine the technology they use in the balloons to last longer and provide more bandwidth. According to a recent profile done by Wired on Google’s Project Loon, the search engine giant has overcome many set backs since launching Project Loon last year. Like the flight times, for one. And another being able to power those balloons with internet access. Google went from just getting a few days flight times to getting about 100 days flight time now. That’s a pretty huge jump in just a year, and I’m sure it’ll be even longer flight times in the next year.

“Google also improved Loon flight times by dramatically upgrading the altitude control system, increasing the vertical range of the balloons so they can catch more favorable winds. (Its balloons “steer” their way around the world by placing themselves in wind currents headed in the right direction.) As a result, it’s not unusual for Google to keep balloons flying for 75 days. One craft, dubbed Ibis 152 (Google uses bird species to nickname its balloons), has been aloft over 100 days and is still flying. An earlier balloon, Ibis 162, circled the globe three times before descending. (It completed one circumnavigation in 22 days, a world record.)”

Google has some interesting plans with Project Loon. Obviously the goal is to get more people on the internet and using their services, which translates to more ad money in their pocket, since they are an ad company. But seeing internet floating around in the sky is pretty crazy, and having internet in rural places that may not have internet, or a reliable connection is going to be amazing.