Google’s internet balloons launch in New Zealand.
30 balloons were launched from Tekapo, New Zealand this week as part of a larger plan to “connect the 2 out of every 3 people on Earth” who don’t have an internet connection.
The balloons are solar powered, and expand to 15 meters in diameter when fully inflated. At 20km high, the balloons are well above commercial aircraft and most weather activity.
Google chose New Zealand to show how the technology could be deployed in a remote area (and possibly to have a vacation in an awesome spot - I’m going to Tekapo this week too!). The nearby city of Christchurch also suffered power and internet outages after earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, so Google is aiming to show how the system could quickly deploy to provide internet access in a disaster.
The number of things connected to the Internet already exceeds the number of people on Earth,” Lang noted. “There are literally millions of devices equipped with sensors that are constantly sending information.
The Rise of Virtual Brick-and-Mortars
Ever since Amazon’s Price App appeared on the retail scene some 18 months ago, pundits have prophesized the demise of big-box retailers. There’s no question that Amazon’s innovation went right for the jugular of any volume- and price-focused retailer selling commodity goods like consumer electronics and household wares. Indeed, retailers from Best Buy and Target to Bed Bath & Beyond, PetSmart, and Toys R Us are in danger of becoming mere showrooms for Amazon and its ilk. But innovative retailers are responding to this threat by turning “showrooming” to their own advantage.
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