Google reveals more on how 'Project Loon' balloon Internet works

Posted Apr 19, 2015 by James Walker
Google has released a new video showing how it intends Project Loon to be an innovative new way of providing rural areas with access to the Internet. The unique effort could offer a connection to anyone with a smartphone.
In this June  2013 photo released by Google  a Google team releases a balloon in Tekapo  New Zealand...
In this June, 2013 photo released by Google, a Google team releases a balloon in Tekapo, New Zealand. Google is testing the balloons which sail in the stratosphere and beam the Internet to Earth
Photo by Google / Andrea Dunlap
The video was uploaded to the Project Loon Google+ page. It sees Loon's project leader Mike Cassidy giving a behind-the-scenes look at how Project Loon has progressed from its earliest stages to the near reality that it is today.
Project Loon was first announced in June 2013. Google writes that the initial aim was to answer one question: could balloons be used to connect people to the Internet?
The first major success for the project was when the team managed to bring Internet access to a rural school in Brazil last year. CNET reported back then that connecting the school proved the team could achieve its goal after initially testing the balloons in New Zealand throughout 2013.
The company's first major issue was getting the balloons to stay up in the air for a prolonged period of time. Balloons are now designed to stay up for over 100 days and Google has been working on a series of prediction algorithms to create expected flight trajectories for the floating WiFi hotspots.
Project Loon now has its own mission control centre where the balloons can be monitored as they drift around the planet. They can be guided into place to provide the greatest possible area of Internet coverage.
In the video, Cassidy explains how the construction time of the balloons has been reduced from three to four days to just a few hours. A new automated crane launching system can release dozens of balloons a day instead of the single balloon possible at the project's inception. Balloons have also been sent for test flights in varying climates including tropical and arctic areas.
Google wants Loon to be able to deliver Internet access to every two out of three people who aren't currently connected. The video shows off more how it intends to do this.
Project Loon
Project Loon