Balloonatics2 min read

Project Loon is fascinating. If you are not aware, Project Loon is Google’s attempt to bring the next billion people on line. The same division of Google (division X) that came up with Google Glass started thinking about how they could help get internet into places that don’t currently have the infrastructure to get traditional wired internet. Project Loon uses balloons with Wi-Fi capable boxes dangled from them to beam down internet signal to remote areas. They are testing and improving the project as we speak and have shown some great success for a project that seems a bit insane.

I have talked several times about how Google is out to make money from our data and its probably true that at some level this project is all about getting more data that they can sell but it seems like, in this endeavour at least, there could be a lot of real world good. Google X’s aim is to address problems that affect millions, or better yet billions, of people. Whilst this project will bring them possibly another billion Google users, the potential good that could come from it is huge. One of the tests that Project Loon recently underwent managed to get a small, very isolated, school in Brazil access to Wikipedia and Google Maps to help with a geography lesson about Portugal. The power of the internet is in the information that it allows us access to. Giving developing nations access to the internet without having to put in complex and expensive infrastructure could help them to develop quicker. So even if Google is just out to make money from data they may do some good along the way.

The idea of getting the next billion people online is also interesting to digital marketing. What do you advertise to a school teacher in remote Brazil who is getting her internet from a ring of balloons circling the globe? I don’t think that there is an obvious answer to this question but I think as more and more people come on line through non-traditional services, like Project Loon, the job of digital marketers is going to get more and more interesting.

Becky Hopkin

As MD Becky works to ensure Digital Gearbox’s values are being lived, and that our customers are receiving the best service possible. A self-confessed Disney fanatic, Becky loves spending down time with her golden Labrador, Nala, and her young daughter, Emily.

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