Google preps Loon and Makani
Google is floating balloons over India. Not just any old inflatables but Google Project Loon high-altitude balloons which, in a joint initiative with the Indian government, will provide Internet access to those on the ground below. The digital giant says it expects to be able to offer a commercial, low-cost Loon service as soon as next year, and that it has authorisation from half of southern hemisphere governments to roll the offering out.
“By partnering with telecommunications companies to share cellular spectrum we’ve enabled people to connect to the balloon network directly from their phones and other LTE-enabled devices,” says Google. “The signal is then passed across the balloon network and back down to the global Internet on earth.”
“Over 4.5 billion people today do not have Internet connectivity, and that is a problem not solved by incremental technology that ideally requires as many as 200,000 telecom towers in India alone,” Mohammad Gawdat, vp of business innovation at Google X, told the Nasscom India Leadership Forum last week.
Google X has also been developing its Makani project to capture wind energy through kites. Makani could also be rolled out next year, with India one of the first deployments. Air moving across rotors mounted on the kites forces them to rotate, driving a generator to produce electricity, which travels down a tether to the power grid.