Google’s Project Loon Soars From Science Fiction
New prototypes of Google’s Project Loon were being tested inside a hangar at Moffet Federal Airfield. The internet balloon, aimed at delivering connectivity to Earth’s remotest regions, had made significant milestones including hitting 1200 pascal without popping and lasting 187 days in the air, traveling to opposite ends of the world. Google pegged for Project Loon to bring 10 billion dollars-worth of yearly revenue.
Project Loon Milestones
On March 2, Ben Popper of The Verge witnessed the balloon’s pressure hitting 1000 pascal. This is a record that Katelin Jabbari, Google X’s communication chief, described as unusually long. However, while still testing its inflation rate, the balloon has surpassed the “unusually long” record. It reached another record, from 1,100 to 1,200 without popping. Project Loon has also reached a new record with one balloon staying afloat for 187 days, circling the globe nine times, passing over more than 12 countries on four continents.
The most magnificent milestone accomplished by Project Loon was when the team was able to launch balloons that successfully connected to the Internet, from one continent to another. The team launched balloons in New Zealand that flew over 9,000 kilometers, reaching Latin America and successfully connecting to the Internet. The balloons then flew back to Australia where it delivered another successful connection before navigating an additional 500 meters across different target locations.
Out from Science Fiction
In his speech at the Google Mobile World Live Extra session at the Mobile World Congress, Sundar Pichai, SVP of products for Google, said he first thought how crazy Project Loon was.
“It sounded like science fiction,” he said during the time Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page pitched the idea.
However, now that Vodafone of New Zealand, Telefonica in Latin America and Telstra in Australia are involved in the balloon trials, Pichai said Project Loon will be commercially available around the globe soon.
10 Billion Dollars of Yearly Revenue
Project balloon is the brainchild of Google founders Page and Sergey Brin. But the person tasked to make the idea concrete was Mike Cassidy.
Today, Cassidy is excited about the 10 billion-dollar yearly revenue Project Loon can create.
“Think about it – with 4.5 billion people without internet access, take 5 percent; you’re talking 250 million people,” Cassidy told Popper. He said if these people allot, at the very least, $5 of their monthly income as payment for the service, it is “going to be in billon dollars a month in revenue, tens of billions a year in revenue.”