Google has cooked up a unique solution for those in rural areas who struggle to get access to the internet. Called Project Loon, the latest Google endeavour uses air balloons to beam 3G internet speeds down to remote places.
Google claims that for two out of three people in the world, access to a fast, reliable internet connection still doesn't exist. That is what Project Loon hopes to change.
A post on the Google Blog explains the incredibly ambitious plans: "We believe that it might actually be possible to build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on the stratospheric winds, that provides internet access to the earth below," it says.
"It’s very early days, but we’ve built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster."
So far Project Loon exists only in a fairly small test in New Zealand. Google has launched 30 balloons this week and given a group of 50 testers the opportunity to test out the balloon-based internet access.
Google is hoping to expand the project well beyond New Zealand, so it's entirely possible that islanders and others will end up with Google-powered web access in the coming years.