This sounds like something out of a Douglas Adams novel, but it's for real: Google is building a floating wireless network out of solar-powered balloons.
It's called Project Loon, and the idea is to bring Internet access to the hardest-to-reach corners of the planet by sending these balloons out to the edge of space.
Loon balloons can also be used to establish Internet access during some kind of an Earth-bound disaster, be it a natural event (tornado, hurricane) or unnatural (terrorist attack), according to the Project Loon web site.
The balloons will float carried by the wind in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and even above the weather, the project's web site says. They can be steered by the people on the ground, and users connect to them through a special Internet antenna attached to their buildings.
This is a Google X project, the experimental lab run by Google cofounder Sergey Brin, which most recently brought us Google Glass.
The first pilot of Project Loon launched earlier this month and in New Zealand.
On Friday, one of the balloons made a visit to the company's Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, and several animated photos of it were posted on The Life at Google page on Google+. Here's one:
Google X Project Loon balloon
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