Bill Gates Mocks Google’s Project Loon

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Bill Gates, the mighty founder of Microsoft Corp aimed a low-blow at Google in regards to the company’s initiative called Project Loon. The project per Google is “a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters.” The move itself has earned admirable accolades from experts in the industry and consumers around the world. Except for one Bill Gates who took a moment with Bloomberg Business Week to share his thoughts on the highly considered project.

The Guardian shared a quote from the multi-millionaire philanthropist who saw nothing admirable in the project: “Certainly I’m a huge believer in the digital revolution. And connecting up primary-healthcare centres, 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.” In addition, Gates said, “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 diarrhoea, no, there’s no website that relieves that.”

Overall, the intended mock comes across as a sort of weak slap against a concrete wall.  To label the project a defeat is contradictory to the good, companies like Google accomplishes. The giant tech corporation has its own philanthropic hand into several initiatives such as Google Giving, Google Green, Google Ideas, Google in Education, Crisis Response, Google for Nonprofits and many more arenas. Gates taking a moment to slam the large and popular company on an initiative that is actually positive only reflects a catty pride.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has also taken impressive steps to help the world on a global scale. Their Health division focuses on the advancements of science and health technology to help those in third-world countries. Certainly, Gates is correct that some nations are more concerned about vaccinations or care processes than technology, but that seems just a shot in the dark.

The technology behind Project Loon is frankly, impressive (see end of article for link to the project). The frequencies match that of a cellular 3G network and can provide a miracle of connections when services become disabled due to weather or natural disasters.  Communications are essential during tragic domestic or international events. During the treacherous path of Hurricane Sandy, millions in New York faced an unlikely event of being in the dark, surrounded by water. The Loon Project looks to make the loss of communications a thing of the past.

Certainly, many will agree with Gates in considering some of the locations to be more concerned about hunger, but Google has covered that spectrum as well. The largest search engine has only been around for 14 years and has made incredible footprints in the world of technology advancements and charities. Microsoft has been around since 1975, marking an impressive 38 years in the market. This variation of time only creates a moment of confusion for Gates’ backhanded comment on Google’s Project Loon. Instead of the mock, these two giants should be collaboratively appreciating one another for their efforts in the industry of technology and philanthropy. There has been no reply from Google.

Angelina Bouc

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