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One of our balloons has had quite a journey over the past few weeks. It did a lap around the world in 22 days, and has just clocked the project’s 500,000th kilometer as it begins its second lap. It enjoyed a few loop-de-loops over the Pacific ocean before heading east on the winds toward Chile and Argentina, and then made its way back around near Australia and New Zealand. Along the way, it caught a ride on the Roaring Forties — strong west-to-east winds in the southern hemisphere that act like an autobahn in the sky, where our balloons can quickly zoom over oceans to get to where people actually need them.

Traversing the stratosphere is particularly challenging this time of year because the winds actually change direction as the southern hemisphere moves from warmer to colder weather, resulting in divergent wind paths that are hard to predict. Since last June, we’ve been using the wind data we’ve collected during flights to refine our prediction models and are now able to forecast balloon trajectories twice as far in advance. In addition, the pump that moves air in or out of the balloon has become three times more efficient, making it possible to change altitudes more rapidly to quickly catch winds going in different directions. There were times, for example, when this balloon could have been pulled into the polar vortex – large, powerful wind currents that whip around in a circle near the stratosphere in the polar region – but these improvements enabled us to maneuver around it and stay on course. We can spend hours and hours running computer simulations, but nothing teaches us as much as actually sending the balloons up into the stratosphere during all four seasons of the year.

Take a look through our photo album to see some of the specific improvements that have been made to the balloon technology, thanks to the lessons we’ve learned in flight.
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111 comments
 
I wished it would deliver Internet to all the countries and people who don't have good Internet connection.... 
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+rounak dutta like us in Iran. Super expensive and very bad quality internet. Worlds need Loon.
 
+Alvaro Cabrera and the most useful I have heard of.
Think about natural disasters for example. After them Loons could provide communication to where it is needed.
 
Can anyone tell me whether the 'Loons have cameras installed on them?  I was just thinking that there would be lots of interesting use cases such as monitoring weather patterns, deforestation, desertification, coastal erosion and rising sea levels in real time.  Granted, Google can already buy this data from satellite operators but Loon would let them bypass those companies and live stream it straight into Google Earth as a new data layer.
 
Both whacky and awesome at the same time!
 
It's a great in our world good luck guys
yo loco
 
me encanta que les vaya bien con el proyecto felicitaciones 
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+Mark Cross
We are excited about Loon's potential contributions to the environmental science community, but we do not have downward-facing cameras on our balloons. Instead, we're measuring stratospheric wind velocities and working on collecting accurate temperature and pressure data. As the project develops, we'll continue to look for additional ways Loon can contribute to environmental science.
 
This would be better in Africa. Aw, my county's network operators are thief's. You cannot even subscribe and conveniently for your android phone or even watch YouTube videos
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This is what we really need, gamechanging technologies, this could easily replace (or complement at least) the need of sattelites!.Hope that when the system gets up it wont be too expensive to use
 
How does Loon compare with the low orbiting satellites and drones of Facebook? Different geographic latitudes? In what other ways do they complement each other? Would it not be better from the two to collaborate?
 
I have a suggestion for you. You could cut weight with a carbon fiber or carbon nanotube ring that is angled to catch the sun. And then just use thin film cells and it might provide for better stability in high wind environments. Or you could get some triple junction cells that are twice as efficient?
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This will get so political, when it starts to work. Governments will try to control, or shoot it down :-( And I speak of democratic countries ...
 
500.000 km equals twelve equatorial orbits. How can it do that in one and quarter laps much further south. It must have done at least 20 laps in the region where it is flying to complete 500.000 km.
 
Around the world? I'm confused...Days 1-22 add up to approx 25,000 km...isn't the world's circumference 40,000 km?
 
When will this be done?  I am contemplating moving to Kenya for free Internet service.
 
Just wondering how many of these balloons are you planning on sending up and, it's too high to really get in the way of aircraft, but will there have to be a special arrangement with space agencies such as NASA?
 
Know in days technology is really taking over everything LOL 
 
EXTRAORDINARIO. BRILLANTE. FELICITACIONES
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this project is awesome. i am sooo glad that the balloons made it and worked great. i hope to this up sometime soon. could help the army with its networking around the world.
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Gostaria de participar nos tese se chegar aqui no Brasil.
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venganse a México aki todos tienen Internet por ke todo mundo se rova la señal 
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Arun KM
 
Great project to connect unknown places to main stream 
 
Một Ý tưởng tốt! Tôi rất kỳ vọng vào dự án này.. 
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Did you spot the MH370? It might help us out a bit...
 
If you need any help in Uruguay please let me know :)
 
I think indonesia people need this. Our placed located on ring of fire. It would be very helpfull during unpredictable disaster.
 
And i wishes, the project loon devices can connect to mobile vehicle such motorbike, cars, mobile phone. Probably, someday, the connecter loon on earth using plastic card or such a tiny wireless cabel.
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Si se hace. Pero es mejor halgo nuevo ☺
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Wow, tomorow I'll present the project to my classroom and that's wonderfull to have this news ! Bravo !
 
Wifiloon excellent .. great work ...
 
just saw two floating around Spring Creek, NV.  pretty cool!
 
Just read the news of Google aquiring drone maker Titan, will google use both the helium baloons and drones to offer internet services or is it shifting totally to the drone for internet strategy
 
balloon, drone, satellite? anything else?
 
Excelente, felicitaciones, esperamos ver una cámara.
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Currently flying over Perth, Australia. <3 ADSB
 
Any chance you have a 'Loon Launch' South of Great Falls, MT..that is currently SE of my ADS-B Rx..F-CYQL1 ?  Been tracking an object at 65K' at 5 - 15Kts for the past couple days ! No Call Sign, but has Reg# 700020 !
VE6CPP
 
Quando colocarem o projeto loon no Brasil , não esqueçam de mim como um usuário Beta, estou torcendo para vocês ajudarem os lugares longínquos e com internet precária . Obrigado!
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What if the upperside of the balloon was coverred with a reflecting shield? Would it help the global warming issue?
Greetings,
Wim.
 
I just stumbled, purely by accident, across the launch of one of these balloons using flightradar24.   If you have flightradar24 you can track the balloon in real time by filtering aircraft type to "LOON".

As I type GOOGLE8 is passing through 700 feet and is approximately 100km East of Goondiwindi. 

Quite amazing project.

I tried searching for tracking data on flightradar24 across a wider global footprint but couldn't find anything other than GOOGLE8.   Does anyone know the flight registration data of any of the other balloons so that we can track using a tool such as flightradar24?
 
For under $200 in parts and adding only 1.5 pounds to the balloon this can also act as a UHF repeater for voice communication between villages. Loon Team Message me for more details.
 
When your balloon crashed in Harrah, WA. the other night it not only took out the power but took out my laptops hard drive. Any chance of project Loon replacing my hard drive? Email me at: crazytimes7734@gmail.com
 
When your balloon crashed into the power lines just south of Harrah, WA the power surge took out my laptop hard drive. Do you think you might consider paying for my new hard drive? Contact info: crazytimes7734@gmail.com
Thank you..
 
Hello, I would like to know where and how to get the antenna to receive the signal and the signal covers the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil because I live in a rural area devoid of internet
 
Olá moro no Brasil no estado do Amazonas e espero ansioso pelo projeto Loon, sou técnico em informatica e mecânico como hob usuário comum, fiquei muito feliz em conhecer o projeto, fiz minha inscrição para ser parceiro de trabalhos e testes....obrigado!  tonyffreitas@gmail.com
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+Tony Freitas Legal!! também sou técnico em informática e espero que chegue em minas gerais tb!!!
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Olá sou do Brasil e de Teresina,moro em um residencial vizinho ao balão que foi lançado aqui gostaria de saber se o sinal já está sendo emitido e se o Google distribuirá antenas para termos acesso a internet?
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Which will be the bandwidth? could google become in a ISP?
Love this Proyect, it is so exicithing :3
 
I wonder how many loons will be needed to provide internet all around the world
 
Are the engineers considering using a lifting gas other than helium? Perhaps hydrogen or methane? 
 
Same question crossed my mind.. more hydrogen?  Would it mean the life of the balloon is significantly less than 100 days? Because the molecules are smaller?
 
Let it be in africa too. Hey come and explore the rest of the world and wld be the contact person
 
Will the Loon project be hovering over the southern atolls of Tokelau? I work for the UN (in Bangkok) and would love for the people of Tokelau to experience the Internet - at least once in their lives. I'll be visiting there soon for work - any possibilities?

Thx!
 
Will Loon allow open sea sailors to receive internet in the 3 oceans ?
 
We here in kashmir need things like loon for high speed and good connectivity
 
every one needs high speed not even kashmir more places in india lack of good connectivity :(
 
I want to participate in beta versión of projet loom.(in Chile)
 

Current Kashmir region of India is having devastating flood situation affecting alteast 400,000 people without any means of communication. Google Loon should offer help Indian government in placing its balloons over the region it will greatly speed up rescue operation and save thousands of lives. This IMO is best example where Google Loon can make a difference to people in need. 

+Project Loon 
 
Ive an idea on a way to monetize all the technology invested in the project. By commercially selling the loons to companies that could use it to take photographs, collect weather data, ..upload it to google drive on cloud (literally), . this could just be a kickstart to an unlimited pontential use of this awesome technology. 
 
#AskAway... when will these ballons deployed in india ? waiting Eagerly for this type of connections....

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