Google isn’t the only one with a thing for balloons. The company announced a partnership with France’s space agency Thursday that will focus on developing internet-carrying balloons that could someday connect the more remote corners of the world. Google has been working on the balloons, called Project Loon, since 2011. The solar-powered balloons, which are blown around the Earth by wind while sitting in the stratosphere, can beam internet service to anywhere and are much easier and cheaper to launch than satellites.
Google and France’s space agency, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, hope to reach new heights through collaborative work on Google X’s Project Loon. The two entities announced a partnership on Thursday, saying that they will work together on technologies that will allow Project Loon, Google’s balloon-based Internet service, to ramp up in France. The organizations were relatively tight-lipped on their plans, but CNES did say that Google will take advantage of the space agency’s expertise in balloon technology. Google, meanwhile, will conduct long-duration balloon campaigns as part of CNES’ ongoing study of the stratosphere and ozone. CNES has been working on balloon technology for decades. CNES and Google didn’t respond to requests for comment.
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