Saturday, June 15, 2013

Google launches balloons to provide internet to remote locations

Search giant Google has launched giant balloons into the stratosphere with the goal of providing internet access to the entire planet.The translucent, jellyfish-shaped balloons were released from a frozen field in the heart of New Zealand's South Island. They hardened into shiny pumpkins as they rose into the blue skies above Lake Tekapo.It was the culmination of 18 months' work on what Google calls 'Project Loon'.Developed in the secretive X lab that came up with a driverless car and web-surfing eyeglasses, the flimsy helium-filled inflatables beam the Internet down to earth as they sail past on the wind. Still in their experimental stage, the balloons were the first of thousands that Google's leaders eventually hope to launch 12 miles into the stratosphere in order to bridge the gaping digital divide between the world's 4.8 billion unwired people and their 2.2 billion plugged-in counterparts.

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