Wireless Balloons

Space Data Corp BalloonI’ve been talking about this for years, and people seem to just think I’m crazy, but it looks like Google doesn’t. It looks like they will be investing in Space Data Corp’s floating SkyWiFi. Basically, these are hydrogen-filled WiFi repeaters floating around at high altitudes and providing internet and cell-phone coverage in rural areas. I still don’t see why a few dozen of these couldn’t be floated over Manhattan. At the very least, it would provide helicopter pilots with some entertainment.

It also looks like it is seeding a new kind of extreme geocaching. From the WSJ article:

Recovery missions can get intense. Workers have had to pluck transceivers out of trees in Louisiana, rappel down rocky cliffs in Arizona, trudge through swamps and kayak across ponds. Space Data pays them $100 per transceiver recovered.

So, Google is buying wireless in the sky, and under the sea; there’s clearly a trend here. Does this point to a Google network? If so–if they are generating an alternative end-to-end network–it would have a number of repercussions, not least, likely moving them from a supporter of net neutrality to a more ambivalent position.

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