I'm not quite sure why Google chose to test its new X Project, called Project Loon, in New Zealand - but the view is stunning. The idea sounds crazy - WiFi carried by high altitude ballons to provide Internet access to remote areas of the planet - perhaps "loon" is short for "loony." But crazy or not the idea is being tested in the South Island of New Zealand near Lake Tekapo. The ballons fly twice as high as commercial jets and can even be steered a little by increasing or decreasing their altitude to move them into different wind patterns. The idea is to provide constant coverage to remote parts of Africa and Asia without the need for expensive and hard to install and maintain ground infrastructure. Google is looking for "pilot testers" in New Zealand so if you're interested in testing Loon you can sign up here. Needless to say the media reporting this story couldn't resist a few sheep jokes. No hobbits were mentioned though.
Project Loon from Google - Balloon-powered Internet from Trey Ratcliff on Vimeo.