Alphabet’s X Spins Off Wing, Loon Into Separate Companies

An engineer is shown preparing a Loon baloon prototype for launch. Credit: Alphabet

The research projects, dealing with delivery drones and balloon-based internet provision, are to join Alphabet’s ‘Other Bets’ division

Google parent Alphabet said it plans to spin off two research projects, Wing and Loon, into separate companies under the Alphabet umbrella.

The projects started off as “moonshots” under Alphabet’s X research division, but the company said they were ready to become early-stage companies.

“Thanks to their years of hard work and relentless testing in the real world, they’re now graduating from X to become two new independent businesses within Alphabet,” the company said in a blog post.

Engineers are shown watching a Wing drone prototype at launch. Credit: Alphabet
Engineers watch the launch of a Wing drone prototype. Credit: Alphabet


It didn’t provide an update on the progress of the two projects. Wing is developing delivery drones and a drone routing system, while Loon plans to use high-altitude balloons to provide internet access.

They will now be classed in Alphabet’s “Other Bets” division, with Alastair Westgarth as chief executive of Loon and James Ryan Burgess as head of Wing.

Other research endeavours that have become full-fledged Alphabet companies include driverless car firm Waymo, cybersecurity firm Chronicle and life sciences division Verily.

Alphabet’s X said it would turn its attention to new ventures as well as its ongoing work with robotics, free-space optics and the Glass experimental head-mounted computer.

A Wing drone prototype is shown carrying a payload. Credit: Alphabet
A Wing drone prototype is shown carrying a payload. Credit: Alphabet