These Balloons Could Soon Expand Internet Access To Millions

Google hopes Project Loon will also help save lives and provide communications during disasters.

Giant, jellyfish-shaped balloons could soon give Internet access to millions more people around the world -- and potentially save lives.

Research shows roughly 4.4 billion people worldwide are not connected to the Internet. Many are in developing countries, but Google aims to change that with the launch of "Project Loon."

A Google research team from its "X" laboratory has worked for the past five years on a cheaper alternative to fiber optic cables. The translucent balloons would travel some 12 miles above the Earth's surface to provide internet via wireless communications technology, according to the tech giant.

The company conducted tests in February over Sri Lanka, after running previous trials in Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand. Researchers aim for the balloons to offer a solution during disasters -- such as when communications went down in Christchurch, on New Zealand's South Island, during the deadly quake of 2011.

Google has yet to confirm a rollout date, but check out the video to learn the latest about the new initiative.

Video courtesy of The Verge.

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