Google X, Google’s experimental division, comes up with some crazy stuff. The latest thing to come out of the group is Project Loon, a strange project that aims to bring Internet service to rural and unpopulated areas using large floating balloons. More interesting than the project itself is the way it was created.
When the idea was first introduced to Google CEO Larry Page, the plan was to buy a sliver of harmonized spectrum and allow the balloons to utilize it and provide Internet service to a specific area. However, Page said, “You’re going to hit a double — that’s not really interesting. You are going to be really frustrated. You’ll be really angry for a week, but then you’ll get creative and you’ll come up with a home run.”
I can imagine that would be extremely frustrating, but Page was absolutely right. The idea was reworked soon after to not use purchased spectrum, but spectrum that’s already owned by someone else. Google would lease the balloons to a company that owns spectrum in an area but isn’t using it, effectively gaining the company customers and providing Internet to those who are outside of coverage. With the better spectrum used, the Internet would be faster. Plus, Google wouldn’t steal customers from any companies this way.
While this project is very interesting, it’ll be a while before it’s going to be released publicly. That said, it’s still a great idea to provide Internet service to those who can’t get coverage from companies in low population areas. And more customers means more users of Google, naturally, so everyone wins. Would you like balloon-powered Internet in your area? Leave a comment!