Why Alphabet Changed Its Internet Balloons Project
Alphabet changed its internet balloons project initially planned to cover the Earth with balloons that beam the internet to the ground. Thanks to a machine learning breakthrough, the navigation of these internet balloons can be controlled so well that just a few of them will be enough to concentrate in areas of need.
Alphabet's Internet Balloons Project
Alphabet's internet balloons project is called Project Loon. The original plan looked similar to the way mobile phones connect to cellular towers. It was envisioning a constant stream of balloons always moving over us at an altitude of 20 kilometers in order to allow devices on the ground to stay connected.
According to The Verge, Astro Teller, the head of the company's experimental wing, announced on Thursday, Feb. 16, that through a machine learning breakthrough, the Loon team has learned how to control the navigation of these internet balloons. The team can now exercise more control over where the balloons stay, and where they go.
The smart software algorithms can control balloons as they navigate the globe so that the balloons can cluster in certain areas for months at a time. This breakthrough changes the way the Project Loon will work in order to provide balloon-powered internet for remote areas around the globe. The total number of balloons needed for the project will be reduced by taking a more targeted approach.
Internet Balloons Project Becomes More Profitable
From hundreds of balloons required by the original form of the Project Loon, only a dozen will be needed now. The time required to move those balloons to specific coverage areas will be reduced as well, according to Teller. The new approach will also increase the chance of the project becoming profitable by helping the company to get greater value out of each balloon.
The profitability of the project might be the most important factor since Alphabet has already lost billions of dollars on other projects. Under the company's chief financial officer Ruth Porat and profit and cost have become very important. When she was brought on board last year, one of her most important tasks was to reign in spending on experimental projects that were running on a deficit by not making money.
Since that time the Alphabet has discontinued its solar-powered drone project called Titan and its modular phone project called Ara. Company's fiber and drone delivery internet projects have also struggled. Under Porat's tenure, Google's former self-driving car project has become a standalone company called Waymo.
Taking into consideration the profitability, the new direction of the Project Loon guarantees that the idea could stay afloat for a while longer. A small number of balloons will be launched into particular regions that need internet access, rather than building a worldwide network. This new approach will accelerate the project's path toward becoming an actual commercial operation.
According to Bloomberg, Teller said that the Loon team can now run an experiment with just 10 to 30 balloons. This way, the costs are much reduced and the service has a better chance of becoming profitable. Teller also said that in the coming months the team will start testing with telecommunications providers.
Google's Waze Carpool Expands It Services Across California
Currently, Waze Carpool isn’t making any money. The app charges riders based on on the cost of gas for a certain ride, while the driver gets everything. In the future, Waze Carpool could also take a commission.
Google Parent Pulls Plug On Internet Drone Project Skybender, Shifts Focus On Internet Balloon Project Loon
Google has pulled the plug on Project Skybender, a solar drone supposed to bring internet connection to remote areas around the world.
Mobileye Partners With German Mapping Company To Advance Self Driving Car Technology
Israeli technology company, Mobileye, that focuses on the development of advanced driver assistance, partners with German company HERE to advance the development of autonomous vehicles. HERE is co-owned by Audi, BMW and Daimler.
Honda And Alphabet's Waymo Collaborate Production Of Self-Driving Cars
Japanese carmaker, Honda Motor Co. Ltd is teaming up with Alphabet Inc. The two companies are currently in formal talks to supply Alphabet’s Waymo's with Honda vehicles to properly test its self-driving technology.
Was Twitter Head Excluded From Trump Tech Meeting For Refusing #CrookedHillary Emoji?
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was not among the tech leaders invited to join President-elect Donald Trump in the recently-held tech summit.
Meet Waymo: Google Company's Self-driving Car That Kickstarted Robocar Revolution
Google announced today that they are setting up self-driving car unit as its own separate entity called Waymo under the Alphabet umbrella. The name is derived from its mission of finding “a new way forward in mobility.”
MORE IN ITECHPOST
iOS 11 Plagued with Untested Bugs and Early Adoption Pitfalls
Reports of nagging iOS 11 issues have started pouring in just a day after the software was released by Apple on supported devices.
'Tokyo Ghoul' Season 3 Delayed By Its Live-Action Movie? Ken Kenaki Returns With Another Identity?
"Tokyo Ghoul" season 3's release is delayed and there are countless speculations as to why it is being pushed back. Reports claim that the show is to give way to "One Punch Man" and "My Hero Acdemia" but new rumors say that it's lack of materials and storyline as well as its live-action movie are causing the delay.
‘Resident Evil 7: Not A Hero DLC’ First Gameplay Trailer Leaks Online
First gameplay trailer pertaining to RE7: Not A Hero DLC has just leaked on YouTube.