The company's Google X laboratory is engineering the low-tech/hi-tech venture (called "Project Loon") of using huge helium-filled balloons equipped with antennas, radios, solar-power panels, and navigation equipment to communicate with ground-based antennas below. While they are not powered in the conventional sense, the balloons are able to zip up or down into air currents in order to maintain some kind of station-keeping.
It all sounds good to me. This endeavour reminds me of the old "Stratovision" system, which was a technique primarily utilizing Boeing B-29 Superfortress aircraft to relay television broadcasts to remote areas of the USA. (Energize.) The principle of airborne 'television stations' is still used to promote American interests in certain countries.
With the controversies of late involving the mining of data and communications from regular citizens, the other thing that occurred to me is that the U.S. government really wants to know what is going on in those out-of-the-way places. Makes sense. After all, what are the buying habits of poor people in remote areas going to produce in regards to reliable marketing data?
The good news about this service? It's free. What a minute....
The Washington Post...
Google to use balloons to provide free Internet access to remote or poor areas