Owner of Google, Alphabet ends internet balloon project

Alphabet, a holding company that owns companies like Google, ended the Loon project, which aimed to make the Internet more accessible by transmitting the signal from balloons. The news was released on Thursday (21) on the blog at Google Lab X, with the title “the last Loon flight” (in free translation).

In the text, the company thanks, comments on the challenges it faced and informs its end. “Although we have found several willing partners along the way, we have not found a way to reduce costs enough to build a sustainable business in the long term,” explains the text. “The development of new radical technology is inherently risky, but that does not make it easier to spread the news.”

A little of Loon’s trajectory

The Google X Lab / Reproduction

With the announcement, the Loon project is completed after almost 8 years since its launch in June 2013. As previously explained, the idea was to take the internet to more places, including remote areas, with the help of balloons. Three years ago, in 2018, Loon joined Alphabet as an independent company. Since then, several achievements have been achieved, such as the transmission of internet signal for 1,000 km.

In 2020, the company started an operation in Kenya and broke the record for the fastest flight. Throughout its trajectory, the company has operated in several countries around the world, including Brazil.

Alphabet decides to cease investments

The Singularity Hub / Reproduction

In 2021, however, Alphabet concluded that the project was no longer profitable. In light of this, the head of Google X Lab and Loon’s chairman, Astro Teller, recommended that the holding company close the financing.

Despite the end, Teller explained to the The Verge that operations in Kenya will continue until March. “Today [21], we are pledging a $ 10 million fund to support nonprofit organizations and businesses focused on connectivity, the Internet, entrepreneurship and education in Kenya. ”

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