Feeds

Google's SWOLLEN WINDBAGS circle PLANET, dispensing INTERWEBS

Chocolate Factory balloon circled Earth in just 22 days

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

With a name like Project Loon, you would expect Google's scheme to be a bit bonkers, but the Chocolate Factory's madcap plan to bring internet connectivity to remote areas using balloons appears to have paid off after one of the devices circumnavigated the globe in just 22 days.

Project Loon is the name for Mountain View's drive to use balloons to provide Wi-Fi coverage in the furthest flung corners of nowhere.

In a post on their Google+ page, the Project Loon team wrote: "One of our balloons has had quite a journey over the past few weeks. It did a lap around the world in 22 days, and has just clocked the project’s 500,000th kilometre as it begins its second lap.

"It enjoyed a few loop-de-loops over the Pacific ocean before heading east on the winds toward Chile and Argentina, and then made its way back around near Australia and New Zealand. Along the way, it caught a ride on the Roaring Forties — strong west-to-east winds in the southern hemisphere that act like an autobahn in the sky, where our balloons can quickly zoom over oceans to get to where people actually need them."

The journey was especially tough this year, because the winds change direction as the southern hemisphere moves from warmer to colder weather, making for an unpredictable journey.

To cope with these winds, Google fitted their balloon with a super efficient air pump which allowed it to change altitudes very quickly.

"We can spend hours and hours running computer simulations, but nothing teaches us as much as actually sending the balloons up into the stratosphere during all four seasons of the year," Google continued.

The balloon has now set off on its second journey around the word.

The name Loon probably refers to a balloon, rather than this reporter's favourite English word for a slightly eccentric person or an aquatic diving bird.

Best non-Google usage of the word loon, you ask? It has to be a line from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in which a character says the immortal line: "Hold off! Unhand me, grey beard loon!"

Which is probably what we'll all be saying to Google one day. ®

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.