Back in June, Google announced Project Loon, a new initiative that aims to bring internet to two thirds of the world's population using balloons. Though the idea itself is a bit off the wall, its an admirable goal. Unfortunately, it's not a realistic one. At least, according to philanthropist Bill Gates it's not. Speaking in a recent interview to Bloomberg Businessweek, Gates said Google's balloons aren't going to help those dying of malaria or a child with diarrhea.
"When you’re dying of malaria, I suppose you’ll look up and see that balloon, and I’m not sure how it’ll help you. When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there’s no website that relieves that," he told Bloomberg.
Bloomberg asked Gates, "Can bringing Internet access to parts of the world that don’t have it help solve problems?" and referenced Google's Project Loon specifically. Gates responded that while he is hugely in favor of connecting health-care centers and schools, really low-income countries need more.
"Certainly I’m a huge believer in the digital revolution. And connecting up primary-health-care centers, connecting up schools, those are good things. But no, those are not, for the really low-income countries, unless you directly say we’re going to do something about malaria," he said, adding, "Google started out saying they were going to do a broad set of things. They hired Larry Brilliant, and they got fantastic publicity. And then they shut it all down. Now they’re just doing their core thing. Fine. But the actors who just do their core thing are not going to uplift the poor."
Google said in June that it hopes Project Loon will boost education, healthcare, small businesses, and more. The pilot program is currently underway in New Zealand.