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[dupe] Alphabet shutting Loon, which used balloon alternative to cell towers (reuters.com)
58 points by revicon 82 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 23 comments

Previous discussion(13 hours back, 200+ comments): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25868713

I know Alphabet put a lot of money into Loon, but it feels like it got a bunch of positive PR for not delivering. And it's not going to get nearly the same PR for canceling.

"Google delivers internet to poor parts of the world" is the headline in a thousand newspapers. Almost none will run "Google fails to deliver internet that it promised millions of poor people."

But we've been to this rodeo before. Google promised free WiFi to poor neighborhoods in Chicago a decade ago, then backed out when it found out that was hard.

Most of the conversations around Loon seem to end up with the question "is X actually a good use of Google's money?"

So just a reminder that Google Brain started out as an X project, and by all accounts, it has created enormous financial value for Google.

Can you elaborate? I thought Brain was a science division?

From what I've been told (current or xooglers please chime in), Brain was a reward to one of their top engineers from the early days of Google to keep him around and let him solve interesting problems, it just happened to become a hub of neural network based ML research.

Looks like the FP Castle will need a new internet plan


Thank you for the link to FP Castle! Their FAQ is a brilliant way to lighten up a Friday afternoon...

Now they could commandeer a few Starlink satellites :)

So I guess they realized that Starlink was gonna be a whole lot simpler to maintain. While probably not as cheap to start off, it might become it.

It was interesting to me that in the X blog post about Loon, they elevated Wing to the same level as Waymo: https://blog.x.company/loons-final-flight-e9d699123a96

Sounds like the signaling technology has been adopted by a new project Taara which is similar but on the ground, and not floating from weather balloons.

Long-lasting instrumented moderate altitude balloons are interesting to me for science reasons, so this is unfortunate since it'd be nice if a turnkey commerical solution existed.

Does anyone know if they published any relevant papers during the project?

They published one pretty recently on using reinforcement learning to control balloons

It was always surreal to see these flying/floating over my city. Couldn't help but feel like you were being further surveilled by Google's all seeing eye.

“The problem solved quickly then we thought “

Which means Elon Musk SpaceX killed our business :)

What has Elon Musk got to do with that statement?

Starlink is going to make low-cost internet connectivity ubiquitous. Though I would agree that we don't need to say "Elon Musk SpaceX" every time we bring up SpaceX. In fact, I'd rather we just leave him out of the conversation since he's mostly embarrassing.

"starlink is going to... "

That is enough to tell you that Loon didn't close shop because of starlink.

It is stated in the article that mobile phones became ubiquitous that telecom companies can justify the cost of setting up base stations because they can now connect thousands of people per location.

That has nothing to do with starlink.

Well, it was loonacy.

Can't say that I'm shocked...

Literally a hot air project.

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