This Is How Google Finds Its Floating Internet Balloons When They're Ready To Land

Lisa Eadicicco

For Google, bringing the Internet to parts of the world without a connection is as simple as setting free a balloon.

Google's Project Loon initiative does exactly that— the company equips these balloons with technology that can beam the Internet down to remote and rural areas. These balloons are essentially floating hotspots.

But how does Google retrieve these balloons after they've set flight? In a new video posted by Project Loon (via Engadget), Google's Nick Kohli explains that each balloon comes with its own GPS so that Google can always keep track of where it is. The balloons also come with sensors that tell Google how its Loon experiment is going. 

When the company decides that it's time to bring down a balloon, Google analyzes wind patterns and communicates with air traffic control officers to find a safe place to do so. 

Usually, an area that's open but still has access to roads is ideal. Kohli said the process is similar to geochaching: since each balloon comes with its own integrated location system, the balloons can send a GPS coordinate to Google. Members from Google's team then head over to those coordinates to pick up the balloon.

Check out the video from Kohli below to hear the full explanation. 

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