No longer a project, Loon leaves the nest to fly, or flop, as a business

21 July 2018 by Steve Blum

Loon is ready to fly on its own. In a blog post, the head of Alphabet’s X division, Astro Teller, says that the high altitude balloon-based broadband company, and a drone based sister project, Wing, are leaving the incubator…

Today, unlike when they started as X projects, Loon and Wing seem a long way from crazy — and thanks to their years of hard work and relentless testing in the real world, they’re now graduating from X to become two new independent businesses within Alphabet: Loon and Wing.


Peru flooding kicks Project Loon into the real world

20 September 2017 by Steve Blum
, ,

Project Loon demonstrated a real-world usage case earlier this year, when the worst flooding in decades hit Peru. The stratospheric balloon-based broadband system under development by Alphabet, Inc. – Google’s parent company – was deployed to backfill mobile networks that were damaged or overwhelmed by the disaster.

That’s according to Anne Bray, Project Loon’s business development director. She was speaking at the inaugural Mobile World Congress Americas trade show in San Francisco last week.

She said that Project Loon began working with Telefonica in Peru a year ago.… More

Google's broadband balloons are almost perfected exec says

24 October 2015 by Steve Blum

Project Loon is closer to being a commercially useful platform for broadband connectivity in remote areas. That’s what Wael Fakharany, Google’s business lead in South Africa told a trade show audience in Cape Town. According to Mobile World Live, Fakharany said that the technology needed to use semi-randomly floating balloons to relay Internet traffic is nearly ready for prime time…

“For the last two years we have almost perfected the technology, it’s time for us now to scale in this part of the world,” he said in a session discussing rural broadband coverage.


Google's Project Loon floats a business model

18 April 2015 by Steve Blum
, ,

Click for the video.

Project Loon isn’t so loony, according to the latest Google video about the project. In it, Mike Cassidy, the Project Loon team lead, said that they’ve figured out how to scale up from single test launches in New Zealand and California to dozens of launches a day, supported by a manufacturing facility that can turn out the thousands of balloons they need.

The idea is to float high-altitude balloons equipped with LTE mobile phone technology in the stratosphere, and steer them into a usable telecoms constellation by varying the altitude.… More

Expect the unexpected from giants' battle for air supremacy

A year ago, if anyone had said that Google and Facebook would be fighting each other to acquire drone manufacturers and technology, you might have rightly called that person crazy. Loony, even. But that’s what’s going on now.

Google announced this week that it bought Titan Aerospace, a New Mexico-based maker of drones. That follows stories more than a month ago that Facebook was in the process of buying it.

Titan’s drone technology will be used by Google both for imaging purposes and to bolster Project Loon, which is aimed at bringing Internet connectivity to parts of the world that can’t be economically reached by conventional means.… More