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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 30, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Google Loon balloon crashes near Yakima

Before it launches self-driving cars, Google might want to sort out its autonomous aircraft, one of which crashed into a mint field near Yakima yesterday.

Screengrab from Google Project Loon video

Screengrab from Google Project Loon video

According to the Yakima-Herald Republic, Google gave the FAA a warning on Wednesday that one of its balloons was coming down. It ended up caught in power lines near Harrah early Thursday, leading to an outage in nearby homes.

Google was tight-lipped about the incident but it looks like part of the search giant’s Loon project that’s looking into using solar-powered balloons to deliver wireless Internet connectivity to underserved regions.

The company began testing Loon in New Zealand last year.

Presumably the one that crashed near Yakima was a trial balloon.

Or maybe it was one of the Google satellites that co-founder and Loon project chief Sergey Brin joked about last week.

UPDATE: Google finally confirmed the incident; details here.

Comments | Topics: balloon, broadband, Google

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