Alphabet’s Loon is no more. 

Loon was launched in 2013 as one of Google’s moonshot projects — experimental ventures which try to solve big problems — and was turned into an independent company in 2018. The idea was to provide internet access to areas that are remote or have poor infrastructure using balloons that sail at about 65,000 feet of altitude. And though Loon did have some success in those nine years — mostly in providing emergency access to areas that were struck by catastrophe — it is now shutting down. 

In a blog post on Friday, the company said it made some “groundbreaking technical achievements,” even managing to launch commercially in Kenya in 2020. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to keep the company afloat. 

“The road to commercial viability has proven much longer and riskier than hoped,” the blog post says.

"Connectivity remains high on our list of spaces to keep hunting for moonshot ideas," says Alphabet.
“Connectivity remains high on our list of spaces to keep hunting for moonshot ideas,” says Alphabet.

According to the blog post, a small group from the Loon team will stay behind to wrap things up and wind existing services down. The rest are being helped to find alternative roles at either Alphabet, Google, or one of Alphabet’s other experimental ventures. 

It was not all for nothing, though. Google said some of the technology developed by Loon is already used in Project Taara, which aims to bring affordable, fast internet to Sub-Saharan Africa.  

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