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Wednesday, July 17 2013

Instead of standing by waiting for internet service providers to tap the two-thirds of the population without internet access (see data, below*), Google is working toward servicing those areas with balloon powered internet. Essentially, 'Project Loon' works like this: balloons are moved around in the stratosphere and sent into a layer of wind that's moving in the right direction, creating a large communications network to which people can connect via an antenna attached to their building. Not surprisingly, Project Loon was founded by MIT-trained scientist, Richard DeVaul.

Project Loon is currently being tested in New Zealand, with the long term goal of connecting people in remote areas, filling gaps in coverage and bringing people back online quickly after a disaster.

Sure, it sounds a little loony and it's true that Google has been known to pull the occasional hoax, like Google Nose. But remember, this is a company that doesn't shy away from the unconventional--Google is testing a self-driving car, has invested in a solar power plant, and introduced the world to Google Glass. Remember too that Google stands to profit with every new internet user. Of course Google would figure out a way to use wind driven balloons to bring more people online.

Read more about Google Loon here.

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