Rhea Mahbubani

Can Internet-Beaming Balloons Outmaneuver Shifting Winds? Google Lab Says Yes

An eccentric laboratory spun out of Google believes it has discovered a way to bring remote parts of the world online more quickly with a smaller fleet of internet-beaming balloons than it previously thought.

The lab, called "X," says it has developed algorithms that enable the high-flying balloons to do a better job outmaneuvering shifting winds conditions so they hover above the masses of land for several months instead of orbiting the earth.

X now expects to need fewer balloons to fulfill its goal of delivering internet service to billions of people living in unconnected regions in the world. That should lower the costs of its 4-year-old "Project Loon" and accelerate its plans to start selling subscriptions to its internet service. The lab is owned by Google's corporate parent, Alphabet.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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