As a boon to Indonesia, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), (NASDAQ:GOOGL), formerly Google Inc., is all set to release 20,000 helium balloons for Internet access. Project Loon, as Alphabet calls it, is designed to bring two-thirds of the population under the ‘Internet’ umbrella. Around 250 million inhabit the little south east nation, but only 29 percent of them have access to web now. This project is aimed towards rural areas, mostly across 17,500 mountainous and jungle filled islands.
Alphabet Riding High On Loon
“Occasionally getting out of communications range is healthy for all of us,” Sergey Brin, President, Alphabet, said. “But if it’s part of your daily life and you don’t have access to the information and the ability to communicate with people important to you, that’s a real disadvantage.”
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The balloons, 15 meters wide and 12 meters tall, will float 20 km above the Earth’s surface. They will carry a small electronic box to connect the balloons together and create a vast network. Each balloon will cover an area of 40 meter in diameter around itself. Within this area, anyone can access web using any mobile device. The balloons are expected to last 100 days after which they will be pulled down.
Alphabet Likes To Bet, A Lot
Google, or Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) as it is now called, has always been into risky projects. Take the example of Google self-driving cars. It is something that Google has been working on since 2005. Alphabet is set to launch its car between 2017 and 2020, until then it’s still a massive money pit for shareholders.
There are also contact lenses that can sense glucose level, helping those with diabetes. Another good example is Calico, a research project which looks into control of aging. One of the most crucial projects of Alphabet is Project Ara, which lets users build their own smart phones. That’s set for launch in 2016.
Alphabet is going to ramp up its risky ventures in coming year, mainly in web access and energy, as per Ruth Porat, Alphabet’s CFO. Here is what Larry Page says on the main website of Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG).
“As Sergey and I wrote in the original founders’ letter 11 years ago, Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one. As part of that, we also said that you could expect us to make ‘smaller bets in areas that might seem very speculative or even strange when compared to our current businesses.’ From the start, we’ve always strived to do more, and to do important and meaningful things with the resources we have.
We did a lot of things that seemed crazy at the time. Many of those crazy things now have over a billion users, like Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome, and Android. And we haven’t stopped there. We are still trying to do things other people think are crazy but we are super excited about.”