Google is taking cloud computing to a literal level with their Loon Project. But is it really just a philanthropic exercise?
Project Loon is Google’s plan to connect those who may not have any internet at all, think those who are based in remote areas, places struck by disaster or anyone using T-Mobile.
To do this Google plans to launch balloons into the stratosphere (20km or 12 miles into the sky), with each balloon providing 40km (25 miles) of coverage, delivering “speeds comparable to 3G”.
As you’d imagine a solar panel will power the on-balloon electronics, which will also charge a battery so as that the balloon can provide coverage 24/7. On the ground users will use antennas (I can’t help but think of peoples phones being turned into 80’s styled bricks) to receive the signal from Google’s answer to Skynet.
For a better explanation of the project see below.
While I commend Google and the potential for this project to really help, I can’t help but wonder if there might be a few other motives behind the project. Google’s primary mode of revenue is by being able to predict what products you want to purchase by analysing its storage data. So while providing internet to those who are without is commendable, they are in essence increasing their user-base and gaining more data, which in in the long run will see larger revenue streams.
The Loon project is currently being tested in the South Island of New Zealand, check out the Project Loon website to find out more.
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