Alphabet founded a project in 2013 for a service that delivered internet service via a fleet of balloons floating on the edge of space, to the less developed regions where internet services were inadequate. The service, called Loon, is now facing some technological and commercial challenges, due to which Alphabet is deciding to put an end to it.
Loon was one of Google X Lab’s most admired and notable projects. The project engineers used sophisticated algorithms in collaboration with the US Government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s data to navigate their internet balloons. Chairman of Loon board and head of Google X, Astro Teller, revealed that Alphabet is no longer funding Loon.
A number of unfortunate events greatly affected how Loon was working, such as after a hurricane in Puerto Rico destroyed its entire system a few years ago and Loon’s first commercial service in Kenya got ruled out after facing some technical issues. Another incident that Loon met was when one of its gliders experienced a crash landing that exposed the underlying problems of managing a fleet of unreliable and delicate aircraft.
Even though Loon is being discontinued now, Teller still believes that it was a successful project, since it opened new doors for technology in the rapidly advancing world.