The project of bring internet to the whole world with a stratospheric globe failure. Google definitively closed its project called Loon. After years of work, Alphabet acknowledged that they had trouble reduce the price of the service, a key element for a system that tried to bring the Internet to rural or remote areas through balloons located in the stratosphere.
Loon even had a blooper in 2016: he fell into a field in the family of models Alejandra and Giuliana Maglietti.
Loon CEO Alastair Westgarth announced the end of the project in a Medium post, explaining that it’s because they couldn’t find a way to cut costs enough to build a long-term sustainable business, despite having partners willing to do so.
This project sought to bring connectivity to “the last billion users” of the world, that is, those that are in remote areas and too difficult to reach, or where the service is offered with existing technologies but it is too expensive for the users.
Loon, the project that Google blew up the stratosphere, is now a company. Google Photo
However, Loon leaves an important legacy. As Westgarth details, the team responsible for its development was able to work with governments and global regulators of the aviation and the communications, and found a way to safely fly a light vehicle for hundreds of days in the stratosphere, as well as launch a vehicle the size of a tennis court quickly and safely.
They also developed communications payloads that can be connected from the stratosphere to many types of devices on the ground, and he pioneered software that manages constellations of connectivity vehicles.
In December of last year, those responsible for Loon reported that the balloons were already navigating the stratosphere autonomously thanks to deep reinforcement learning, a pioneering technique in this field.
The Loon Project consists of a network of balloons that travels over the border with outer space. The objective is to reach areas of the planet isolated from technological innovations to guarantee Internet connection to all those who need it.
Project Loon began in 2013 with the motto “Loon reaches everyone. Google Photo
Loon began life in 2013 as a pilot program for Google, now from parent Alphabet. The first test was carried out in New Zealand, a territory in which 12 balloons were launched into the stratosphere.
And in the second, another 30 balloons of 15 meters in diameter were launched. The device offers WiFi connection and transmits the signal to special Internet antennas that are connected to the walls of buildings.
And, of course, more than one had problems, failed and ended up lying in different places.
The blooper of 2016: it fell in an Argentine field
Formosa: the globe, in the field of the Maglietti. Photo Télam
It was the neighbors of the place who told the man that “a rare thing” It had fallen from the sky on their property: they didn’t understand what had happened, but it was a Google Loon balloon.
At the warning, Alfredo Maglietti, owner of the “Monte Carlo” ranch, walked about five kilometers into the countryside, where on Friday he was told that the object had rushed, and found the remains of a balloon that belongs to the Loon experiment, from the Google company. As he recounted, there were lithium batteries, antennas, a balloon without gas and electronic elements.
As explained from the computer giant, the balloon “was lowered with full control of the maneuver and in coordination with the authorities.”
Estancia Monte Carlo, where a Loon balloon fell in 2016. Photo Télam