Project Loon Reveals Autolauncher in Puerto Rico

Project Loon is definitely ambitious, and some might even argue that Google will fail in this endeavor. However, things seem to be going in the right direction right now, as the company still hopes to be able to launch its first continuous ring around the world this year. The goal of Project Loon is to provide high-speed internet to less-fortunate nations such as Sri Lanka, and it definitely makes sense for Google try to and expand the reach of the internet across the world, as this would only increase its traffic and revenue in the long run. The engineers working on the project have implemented a system that can keep balloons in the air for up to 100 days, but in order to get them up in the first place, they need a series of advanced portable autolaunchers.

One such autolauncher was showcased no too long ago in Puerto Rico, where it managed to launch a Project Loon balloon in no more than 30 minutes. According to the team’s representatives, these crane-like devices will allow them to move their entire operations to areas with favorable wind patterns, and they will also keep the balloons out of stiff breezes until launch time in order to improve overall control. Since these balloons can now link with each other while in the air, the team needs eight ground stations as well as a balloon network in order to provide internet service to a certain region. Some parts of Asia, West Africa and Latin America are expected to benefit from this system later this year.

Google to Launch Project Loon Internet Balloons Next Year

Google’s ambitious Project Loon, a network of stratospheric balloons to bring wireless internet to remote parts of the world, could be operational by next year. Google told the BBC it hopes to trial the system – a cheaper, more practical alternative to installing fibre cables, and which offers 4G-equivalent speeds – in 2016.

“In the early days, the balloons would last five or seven or 10 days. Now we have had balloons that have lasted as long as 187 days,” Mike Cassidy, Vice President of Project Loon, said. “We’ve also improved the launch process. It used to take 14 people an hour or two to launch a balloon, now with an automated crane we can launch a balloon every 15 minutes with two or three people.”

Three of Indonesia’s mobile networks have already signed up to become carriers on the Project Loon network.

“[We need] about 300 balloons or so to make a continuous string around the world,” Cassidy explained. “As one moves along with the wind out of range, another one comes to take its place.”

“We hope next year to build our first continuous ring around the world, and to have some sort of continuous coverage for certain regions,” he said, adding, “And if all goes well after, then after that we will start rolling out our first beta commercial customers.”

Google is also considering an alternative solution to bringing internet to isolated locations, codenamed Titan, which involves using solar-panelled flying drones.

Google Will Soon Provide Free Internet in Sri Lanka

Google’s efforts to bring free internet to some of the world’s most remote areas is certainly commendable, and even though Project Loon is a very difficult project to complete on a global scale, Google is definitely making some incredible progress. To be more specific, Project Loon is expected to launch for the first time in Sri Lanka, which makes sense since this particular island country has been very supportive of the endeavor. Also, the fact that Sri Lanka measures just 25,000 square miles definitely helps.

The actual plan involves Google working closely with the island’s own internet providers in order to allow them to expand their range and service quality, which means that Project Loon for Sri Lanka won’t deliver free internet for everyone but will rather expand the coverage of existing networks. Keep in mind that the service can only deliver 3G speeds at this point, which means that tasks that require a bit of bandwidth such as high-quality video streaming will likely not be supported. However, light web browsing and the occasional YouTube video can be enjoyed in 3G without too many issues. Sri Lanka currently boasts about 20 million citizens, out of which only a bit over 3 million enjoy internet access. Therefore, Project Loon has the potential to improve the quality of life for many people. Google plans to start launching balloons by next March.

Thank you TheVerge for providing us with this information.

Google’s Project Loon Is Making Great Progress

It’s easy to raise your brow at big companies when you hear about scandals and lawsuits, but it’s important to keep in mind that some of these giants are also working on innovative technologies that are meant to make our lives easier. A great example is Google’s Project Loon, which was announced officially on June 14, 2013. The project aims to bring “internet for everyone” using balloons, and even though it seemed to be a bit of a long shot at first, Google is actually making great progress with it.

In recent news, the team behind Project Loon posted a brand new video that highlights key aspects concerning balloon manufacturing and partnership agreements with abroad LTE network providers. The most impressive achievements so far include maintaining balloons up in the air for up to 100 days and creating them in only a few hours. This means that Google can now launch a few dozens of balloon each day, which is impressive considering that it could only launch a single one during the project’s early stages. An organized fleet containing thousands of balloons could definitely bring free Wi-Fi into remote areas of the planet where the infrastructure is not quite ready yet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=100&v=HOndhtfIXSY

Are you excited for Project Loon?

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

50% of the World Will Be Using the Internet Within Five Years

Independent market researchers eMarketer predict that half the world will be using the internet by 2018. The number of worldwide internet users is set to reach 3 billion in 2015, which is 42% of the globe’s current population, 7.1 billion people.

“Inexpensive mobile phones and mobile broadband connections are driving internet access and usage in countries where fixed internet has been out of reach for consumers, whether that’s due to lack of infrastructure or affordability,” says Monica Peart, eMarketer’s Senior Forecasting Analyst. “While highly developed nations are nearly saturated in terms of internet users, there’s significant room for growth in emerging markets,” she continued, adding “for example, India and Indonesia will each see double-digit growth in each year between now and 2018.”

Although rolling out internet access to the entire Earth is an economically improbable task, undertakings such as Project Loon – Google’s attempt at establishing a skyborne WiFi network using a series of balloons – aim to bring internet access to more remote areas.

Source: Trusted Reviews

Google Looking Into Acquiring Startup Company Skybox for $1 billion

Google is known for investing in different markets, having acquired companies such as Boston Dynamics and DeepMind. This time however, Google is aiming for the ‘skies’ so to put, with the rumors of acquiring startup company Skybox, a company specialising in high-definition satellite imagery.

The amount of money in question is quite impressive as well, having rumored to be at an estimated $1 billion. The parties have refused to make any comments, as is to be expected when a big acquisition such as this one is in order. Why Skybox and what is Google hoping to get out of this? The answer is simple.

Skybox, as previously mentioned, focuses on satellite imagery. It is different through the way of offering high quality imagery and video to its clients and the company also make their own satellites, software and offer pristine footage. A preview of what they currently offer can be seen in the video below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCrB1t8MncY[/youtube]

The reports also say that Skybox was one of the alternatives Google was looking into. It is said that the company giant had its eyes on another company called Planet Labs, raising the possibility of Google working on something big. Two of the possible reasons of acquiring Skybox is either to integrate it into Google Maps / Google Earth Enterprise or even use it for its Project Loon.

While Google Maps and Google Earth Enterprise sounds more plausible, since integrating Skybox’s imagery into the latter could skyrocket its services, it still raises the questions of whether the company giant is willing to spend $1 billion on just that. This is why Project Loon could be another candidate, since Skybox could be a nice addition to its recent acquisition for Project Loon, Titan Aerospace, to help track the balloons and their position. Whichever way it may be, we will just have to wait and see.

Thank you Android Authority for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of Android Authority

Google WiFi Balloons For Project Loon Being Tested In California

Google’s Project Loon is now being tested in California according to BGR. Despite Bill Gates’ criticism of the project Google are pushing ahead with the project. Google’s Project Loon will improve global internet access by making WiFi available nearly everywhere. Google’s project loon works like this:

Project Loon seeks to put a network of high altitude (20 km) balloons over the world to provide it with wireless internet everywhere. The balloons they intend to use are about 15 metres in diameter but once in the sky they can only be seen with telescopes. Google intends’s to use high altitude winds as a steering mechanism to ensure that all these balloons stay connected, in effect they would be “sailing the stratosphere”.

The complex network which creates the internet connection works by broadcasting the internet from local ground based “internet stations” up to the balloons which then broadcast it back down to special antennas that people can have on their homes. These antennas point upwards to the balloons to receive the connection. The wireless equipment Google are using has been designed to only work within its own Project Loon, as to minimise interference and maximise bandwidth.

The balloons are solar powered and controlled at a central “mission control”. Google has to work very closely with air traffic controls to ensure minimal risk when putting these balloons up or down. Furthermore Google is creating collection points to bring these balloons down for repairs and maintenance. They aim to have bands of Balloons at different latitudes to get the best coverage of the whole world since the Stratospheric winds generally travel West to East.

Image courtesy of Google (Youtube)

Microsoft’s Bill Gates Criticises Google For Lack Of Charity

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is well known for his charity work through his own organisation the “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation”. That foundation helps low income countries around the world with charitable tasks as well as assisting in the development of social services like health care and education. Talking with Bloomberg, about his charitable interactions, Bill Gates commented on Google’s “Project Loon”. Project Loon is Google’s plan to provide free global WiFi through a series of high-altitude air balloons carrying WiFi transmitters that stream WiFi from a variety of strategically placed ground base stations.

“When you’re dying of malaria, I suppose you’ll look up and see that balloon, and I’m not sure how it’ll help you. When a kid gets diarrhoea, no, there’s no website that relieves that. Certainly I’m a huge believer in the digital revolution” Bill Gates stated.

Bill Gates also went on to further detail that he believes Google have been travelling on a negative trajectory in recent times with regards to doing good and providing charitable services.

“Google started out saying they were going to do a broad set of things. They hired Larry Brilliant, and they got fantastic publicity. And then they shut it all down. Now they’re just doing their core thing. Fine. But the actors who just do their core thing are not going to uplift the poor.”

It is clear that Bill Gates and Microsoft certainly aren’t that fond of Google but do you think Bill Gates is right to criticise Google’s Project Loon?

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Google’s “Project Loon” To Put WiFi In Balloons

Believe it or not the majority of the world doesn’t have access to the internet, mainly because they cannot afford it but sometimes because the necessary infrastructure isn’t in place. Google, being one of the dominant Internet brands of our time, is looking to change this with Project Loon.

Project Loon seeks to put a network of high altitude (20 km) balloons over the world to provide it with wireless internet everywhere. The balloons they intend to use are about 15 metres in diameter but once in the sky they can only be seen with telescopes. Google intends’s to use high altitude winds as a steering mechanism to ensure that all these balloons stay connected, in effect they would be “sailing the stratosphere”.

The complex network which creates the internet connection works by broadcasting the internet from local ground based “internet stations” up to the balloons which then broadcast it back down to special antennas that people can have on their homes. These antennas point upwards to the balloons to received the connection. The wireless equipment Google are using has been designed to only work within its own Project Loon, as to minimise interference and maximise bandwidth.

The balloons are solar powered and controlled at a central “mission control”. Google has to work very closely with air traffic controls to ensure minimal risk when putting these balloons up or down. Furthermore Google is creating collection points to bring these balloons down for repairs and maintenance. They aim to have bands of Balloons at different latitudes to get the best coverage of the whole world since the Stratospheric winds generally travel West to East.

Only time will tell if Google can successfully bring internet to the whole world but I think it is quite an admirable mission. Though that said we must be wary that Google aren’t just doing it for the good of the planet but so they can expand internet connectivity and therefore expand their business in addition to having a monopoly on internet provision in many places over the world.

What are your thoughts on Project Loon?

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

Image courtesy of Google