Skip to Content
Silicon Valley

Loon and Wing are becoming Alphabet’s newest businesses

July 11, 2018

The two projects are graduating from X, the company’s moonshot factory.

What they do: Project Loon (one of our 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2015) is developing a network of high-altitude balloons that can provide internet access in remote locations. Project Wing, meanwhile, is building a drone delivery system and traffic management platform.

The news: The experiments will become two individual organizations operating under the auspices of Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Called Loon and Wing (they are dropping the “project” moniker), they will continue with the same goals they have been pursuing at X.

$$$$: The shift means a greater focus on making money. Loon plans to bring in the bucks by integrating with telecom companies around the world. Wing, meanwhile, is continuing its Australian delivery service and is participating in the US Department of Transportation’s Integration Pilot Program.

Previous graduates: These projects follow in the footsteps of Waymo, the autonomous-car company, Verily, a life sciences business, and the cybersecurity company Chronicle, all of which graduated from X to become separate entities in Alphabet’s network.

Why it matters: The graduation acts as a sort of stamp of approval from Alphabet on the potential of these technologies. “Today, unlike when they started as X projects, Loon and Wing seem a long way from crazy ,” Astro Teller, X’s Captain of Moonshots, wrote in a blog post.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

open sourcing language models concept
open sourcing language models concept

Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free

Facebook’s parent company is inviting researchers to pore over and pick apart the flaws in its version of GPT-3

transplant surgery
transplant surgery

The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus

The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.

Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research
Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research

Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging

The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.

Yann LeCun
Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI

One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.