Alphabet is shutting down Loon, its internet balloon company

Alphabet is shutting down Loon, its division that provides internet from floating balloons, according to a post on the blog of Alphabet’s X moonshot division.

“The road to commercial viability has proven much longer and riskier than hoped,” Astro Teller, who leads X, wrote in the blog. “In the coming months, we’ll begin winding down operations and it will no longer be an Other Bet within Alphabet.”

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, launched Loon in June 2013, and Loon “graduated” from a moonshot to an independent company within Alphabet in 2018. Loon launched its first commercial internet service in Kenya in July, comprised of a fleet of about 35 balloons that covered an area of around 50,000 square kilometers. Loon has also provided internet services to areas affected by natural disasters, deploying balloons to Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017 and to Peru following an earthquake in 2019.

Teller says that Loon is working to place employees in other roles at X, Google, and Alphabet. “A small group of the Loon team will stay to ensure Loon’s operations are wrapped up smoothly and safely — this includes winding down Loon’s pilot service in Kenya,” according to Teller. Loon’s service in Kenya will run until March, an X spokesperson tells The Verge. To support those in Kenya who might be affected by the loss of Loon’s service, Loon is pledging $10 million to support nonprofits and businesses in Kenya dedicated to “connectivity, Internet, entrepreneurship and education.”

Loon isn’t the only moonshot that Alphabet has shut down. It wound down Makani, which aimed to use wind turbines attached to kites to create renewable electricity, last year. And Project Foghorn, which researched how to create clean fuel from seawater, ended its work in 2016.

Related Articles

Apple reportedly negotiating to build iPads in India

Apple is said to be lobbying the Indian government in a move that could see the company manufacture iPads in the country...

YouTube removes PewDiePie video for violating cyberbullying, child safety rules

YouTube has removed one of Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg’s recent videos, a diss track aimed at popular children’s channel Cocomelon, for violating guidelines...

Nvidia says it won’t nerf the Ethereum mining performance of existing GPUs

This morning, Nvidia announced that it would artificially reduce the performance of its upcoming $329 GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card when it...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

21,330FansLike
0FollowersFollow
0SubscribersSubscribe

Latest Articles

Apple reportedly negotiating to build iPads in India

Apple is said to be lobbying the Indian government in a move that could see the company manufacture iPads in the country...

YouTube removes PewDiePie video for violating cyberbullying, child safety rules

YouTube has removed one of Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg’s recent videos, a diss track aimed at popular children’s channel Cocomelon, for violating guidelines...

Nvidia says it won’t nerf the Ethereum mining performance of existing GPUs

This morning, Nvidia announced that it would artificially reduce the performance of its upcoming $329 GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card when it...

Blackmagic’s new ‘Pro’ Pocket Cinema Camera 6K adds the tilt-screen the original needed

Blackmagic is releasing a new, “Pro” version of its Pocket Cinema Camera 6K, which looks to fix a lot of the pain...

Android 12 developer preview, from better emergency calls to notification redesign

The Android 12 developer preview is out, and the internet is busy poring over it to find any new features or hints...