Project Loon, the high-flying internet-delivering balloon subsidiary of Alphabet's X semi-secret skunkworks, has a new boss after the previous one only lasted about six months, reports Bloomberg's Mark Bergen.
Alastair Westgarth, formerly the CEO of wireless antennae company Quintel, will be the new head of Project Loon. Westgarth is replacing former satellite exec Tom Moore, who had only joined in August 2016.
Project Loon, which was unveiled in 2013, is an ambitious plan to connect the world by delivering the internet to rural areas from high-altitude balloons.
Earlier in 2017, Project Loon showed off big upgrades to the balloons, which now use artificial intelligence to "cluster" and more efficiently beam internet back to Earth.
Moore's hiring was intended to reflect a path towards commercialization for Project Loon, which has only seen limited deployments in countries including Sri Lanka since its unveiling.
X, previously known as Google X, tells Bloomberg that Moore will be staying on at the labs in an advisory role. Moore had himself replaced Mike Cassidy, the project's leader since 2012, who stayed on at X to do different projects.
An Alphabet spokesperson says:
"I can confirm that Tom Moore recently decided to step aside from his role as Project Loon lead, and that Alastair Westgarth is now heading up the project. Alastair is a seasoned entrepreneur and telecom industry veteran who brings more than 30 years of experience to the role. Alastair’s vision for Project Loon aligns with X’s philosophy of approaching huge problems, at scale, to improve the lives of millions or billions of people. Tom will remain at X in an advisory role for the next few months and we’re grateful for his contributions.”
Here's a look at Project Loon:
(The Verge/Google X)
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