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

Large language models can do jaw-dropping things. But nobody knows exactly why.

And that's a problem. Figuring it out is one of the biggest scientific puzzles of our time and a crucial step towards controlling more powerful future models.

The problem with plug-in hybrids? Their drivers.

Plug-in hybrids are often sold as a transition to EVs, but new data from Europe shows we’re still underestimating the emissions they produce.

Google DeepMind’s new generative model makes Super Mario–like games from scratch

Genie learns how to control games by watching hours and hours of video. It could help train next-gen robots too.

How scientists traced a mysterious covid case back to six toilets

When wastewater surveillance turns into a hunt for a single infected individual, the ethics get tricky.

Stay connected

Illustration 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.