Project Loon will now target specific areas in clusters according to a recent statement from Astro Teller, who leads Google's X division that is working on Project Loon. Aside from mentioning this new direction for Project Loon, the official Project Loon YouTube page highlights the company's decision to take these high-flying balloons that deliver internet and use them to focus on regions around the world where people really need a connection to the web.
Prior to today's announcement, the plan for Project Loon was always for the balloons to float around the globe and deliver internet everywhere. Now though, X is looking to take those balloons, find where internet is most needed, and enable them to cluster in that designated area to provide internet for a specific location. The ability to cluster these balloons around a specific area is made possible by a navigational update that was sent to the project, and with being able to pinpoint a specific location and provide connectivity to just that one area, the need for a continuous stream of balloons is alleviated. The most obvious benefit from this change? Getting connectivity to reach these locations is a much faster process than before as the balloons will be able to go directly to where they were positioned instead of having them constantly traveling in a ring around the globe over that area.
Because internet connectivity can now be targeted to specific areas and a continuous stream isn't needed, Project Loon won't just reach the areas that need the internet the most at a faster pace, Google should also be able to target more remote areas because less balloons will be needed for each area. While this might be the first that Google has noted their plans to keep Project Loon balloons stationary in an official capacity, they've been working on making the balloons more targeted for a little while at least, as it was reported back in September that Google was successful in keeping a balloon in the same spot for up to 98 days using artificial intelligence technology. In addition to better serving areas that need internet connectivity the most much faster, this change to the way that the project operates should mean it has a better chance at generating profit for Google and ultimately Alphabet.