Google’s Project Loon, the search giant’s experiment to bring internet access to the two-thirds of the world without it, just reached its one-year milestone.
By this time next year, Google hopes to have a more permanent set of balloons, Wired reports.
“In one or several countries, you will turn on your phone and talk to the balloons,” Google X chief Astro Teller told Wired. “Yes, Loon will be offering service.”
Teller is optimistic likely because of the progress its made with Project Loon. When Google first launched its WiFi balloons last June, it was pretty typical for them to stay aloft for a few days at most, according to Wired.
In order to increase flight time, Google changed its altitude control system by increasing the vertical range of the balloons, allowing them to catch better winds.
Today, it’s not odd for a balloon to stay flying for 75 days. In fact, one balloon has been flying for over 100 days.
Google’s goals for the next year include achieving routine flights of 100 days and deploying a full ring of anywhere between 3oo to 400 balloons circling the globe to offer continuous internet access in certain areas.
One of Google’s balloons crashed last month in Washington, but Google seems pretty optimistic that Project Loon will be a success.
“We’ve definitely crossed the point where there’s a greater than 50 per cent chance that [internet service enabled by high-altitude balloons] will happen,” Google X project director Mike Cassidy told Wired.
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