Google’s Parent Births New Businesses: Balloons and Drones

Google’s Parent Births New Businesses: Balloons and Drones

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SAN FRANCISCO — Google’s efforts to build delivery drones and internet-beaming balloons are no longer just science projects.

Both ventures are becoming their own independent businesses within Alphabet, the technology conglomerate that owns Google and now 13 other units, Alphabet said on Wednesday. Their so-called graduation from Alphabet’s research lab, X, means the delivery-drone and balloon-internet teams may now be on a path to soon offer commercial services and earn revenue.

“The seemingly impossible can actually be possible,” Astro Teller, the head of X, said in a blog post. “Today, unlike when they started as X projects, Loon and Wing seem a long way from crazy.”

The delivery-drone unit, named Wing, has built 11-pound drones with fixed wings for gliding to destinations and 12 rotors for hovering over homes while winching down deliveries. Wing tested the aircraft in Australia last year, delivering burritos and medicine to customers who ordered the items on a mobile app.

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