Project Loon – The Cloud In The Clouds

Project Loon – The Cloud In The Clouds

Project Loon – The Cloud in the Clouds

Google is hoping to take the virtual cloud into the physical clouds with the rollout of its much-vaunted Project Loon.

Whilst cloud connectivity provided by helium-filled weather balloons that float 20 miles (32 km) above the surface of the earth might sound like a bad April Fools joke, Google hopes the technology will help deliver internet access to some of world’s 4.2 billion people who still live without a data connection.

Here we take a look at five interesting facts about the project…

1. Testing

Just two days after being announced to the public in June 2013, Google began the first tests in the Tekapo area of New Zealand’s South Island. After consultation with local aviation authorities, thirty balloons were sent into the stratosphere and successful started beaming internet signal to pilot testers on the ground.

The test has now been expanded to cover approximately 20% of the entire island and will continue to grow throughout 2014. Google hope to conclude their testing by establishing a ring of balloons around the world’s 40th parallel, allowing people at who live at that latitude to receive permanent balloon-powered internet.

2. Operation

Users on the ground are provided with a special internet antenna which can receive signal from the balloons when they are within a 12.5 mile (20 km) range. Internet speeds will be roughly equivalent to regular 3G speeds on the ground.

3. Design

A truly incredible piece of engineering, each balloon will be only 3 millimetres thick owing to its construction from polyethylene plastic. They will not fully inflate until they are in their orbiting position, when they will measure 12 metres by 15 metres. Each individual balloon will have a serviceable life of approximately 100 days, where-after the gas will be released and it will be slowly brought back to the surface.

4. Power

Project Loon will be entirely powered by renewable energy. The balloons will be running 24/7 courtesy of two on-board solar panels, which will both power the electronics and charge the overnight batteries. Movement around the earth will be powered by high level winds in the stratosphere.

5. Disaster Relief

While cynics might say that Google’s plans are more motivated by economical than humanitarian reasons – an undoubted positive side effect of Project Loon is its ability to play a significant role in disaster relief. The balloons can be set up and activated extremely quickly and could quickly restore damaged communication channels for those who are coordinating any recovery.


What do you think about Project Loon? Is it a loon-y idea or an achievable goal? Will Google be successful in their self-styled vision of ‘Balloon-Powered Internet for Everyone’, or will their floating dreams become a deflated disaster? Let us know in the comments below.

By Daniel Price

Follow Me!

Daniel Price

Daniel is a Manchester-born UK native who has abandoned cold and wet Northern Europe and currently lives on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. A former Financial Consultant, he now balances his time between writing articles for several industry-leading tech ( &, sports, and travel sites and looking after his three dogs.
Follow Me!

One Response to Project Loon – The Cloud In The Clouds

  1. Woah! This Really seems to be something New! And it all depends on how the Early Adopters of the Technology Propagate this to the world! I will be optimistic & give it a Thumbs Up!! P.S: Loved the concept of the video! :D

Cloud Computing and Social Networks

Cloud Computing and Social Networks

Pushing Innovation With Social Networks There was a time when storage space was a precious commodity. A few videos and photographs and the system would be gasping for breath in old PCs’ limited storage space. 10 Years ago, today’s top social networking sites would have broken down under the burden of the heavily visual traffic…

Cloud Infographic – Monetizing Internet Of Things

Cloud Infographic – Monetizing Internet Of Things

Cloud Infographic – Monetizing Internet Of Things There are many interesting ways in which companies are looking to connect devices to the cloud. From the vehicles to kitchen appliances the internet of things is already a $1.9 trillion dollar market based on research estimates from IDC. Included is a fascinating infographic provided by AriaSystems which shows us some…

The Education Revolution: Cloud In The Classroom

The Education Revolution: Cloud In The Classroom

The Education Revolution: Cloud In The Classroom With the back-to-school season now upon us, parents, students and teachers everywhere are once again struggling with the perpetual challenge of making kids job-ready in a high-speed and fast-changing environment. There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that information technology plays a central role in all areas of life…

Cloud Infographic – Interesting Big Data Facts

Cloud Infographic – Interesting Big Data Facts

Interesting Big Data Facts You Didn’t Know The term Big Data has been buzzing around tech circles for a few years now. So much, in fact, that you’re probably getting sick of hearing about it. Here are some interesting facts you might not know about big data via The Visual Capitalist: Big Data got its start in…

5 Considerations You Need To Review Before Investing In Data Analytics

5 Considerations You Need To Review Before Investing In Data Analytics

Review Before Investing In Data Analytics Big data, when handled properly, can lead to big change. Companies in a wide variety of industries are partnering with data analytics companies to increase operational efficiency and make evidence-based business decisions. From Kraft Foods using business intelligence (BI) to cut customer satisfaction analysis time in half, to a…



Cloud Logo Sponsors

hp Logo CityCloud-PoweredByOpenstack-Bluesquare_logo_100x100-01
cisco_logo_100x100 vmware citrix100
Site 24x7

Contributor Spotlight

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading influencers in cloud computing, big data and internet of things (IoT) information. Our goal is to continue to build our growing information portal, by providing the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more.


CloudTweaks Media
Phone: 1 (212) 763-0021

Branded Content Programs