A project initially spawned out of Google’s”X” moonshot mill is now being abandoned following over a decade of research and experimentation.
The project, known as Loon, was assumed to become a balloon-powered wireless community that supplied data service to the most remote areas of Earth.
Loon, that is under the X umbrella of Google parent firm Alphabet, could not find a way to be prosperous.
Hey, therefore, recall Loon? If your response was”um, no,” do not feel bad, because most folks have never heard about it. That’s somewhat surprising since Google dreamt it up as a”X” project and worked on it for about a decade. Now, after failing to find a way to become rewarding, Loon is shutting down and leaving a confusing legacy in its wake.
Loon was an effort by Google (and later Alphabet, Google’s parent firm ) to create a wireless network without launch satellites to space or building big towers. Instead, the system would be powered by hardware suspended from massive balloons, thus the name of this project.
Long prior to SpaceX started launching its Starlink satellites into space to build its own data system, Google idea of this idea to build a mobile network with balloons. The idea was to be able to offer mobile connectivity in remote areas where other networks only couldn’t reach. It looked like a promising endeavor, which is no doubt why Alphabet let the project to last for a decade without making a cent.
Google eventually unveiled the job 2013 after work on it started in 2011. It looked pretty interesting, and the promise of providing connectivity in remote regions was definitely worth investigating. Unfortunately, a sustainable business model never really materialized, and there’s seemingly no choice but to pull the plug.
“The road to commercial viability has proven much longer and riskier than hoped,” Astro Teller, head of X, Alphabet’s moonshot company, wrote in a post on Medium. That is a pretty huge bummer for your Loon team, but it looks like the ideal thing to do, especially thinking about the length of time that the job has been ongoing.
Teller praised the Loon group’s work, noting”groundbreaking technical achievements over the last 9 years — doing many things previously thought impossible, like precisely navigating balloons in the stratosphere, creating a mesh network in the sky, or developing balloons that can withstand the harsh conditions of the stratosphere for more than a year.”
Teller explained that after the decision to shut down Loon — that became its own business in 2018 — that the operations will”begin winding down” within the upcoming few months. The technological advancements that were attained by the Loon project team will continue to live on in one form or another, but sadly , they will not be applied to the goal of providing mobile service across the world.