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Google Research Balloon Crashes Into Front Yard

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A fifty-foot Google research balloon fell from the sky and crash-landed into an innocent palm tree.

Chino Hills resident Janet Olaffson told KBCW, "We ran out, and the police said don't go near it. At that time they had got a call from the company that said its a weather balloon." Olaffson also said she initially thought her neighbor had covered up the palm tree with a giant plastic bag to protect it from paint.

The sight attracted the attention of neighbors, who flocked to the scene to take photos and spread rumors. One woman speculated that it was a weather balloon traveling from Las Vegas to Japan.

The balloon is part of a research and development project called Project Loon, which seeks to expand the reach of 3-G Internet access in rural, underserved areas. Ideally, these "loon balloons" will allow people to use Google from anywhere in the world (including Chino Hills!). Project Loon just partnered with the government of Sri Lanka to provide internet access to the nation.

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Google said that Olaffson's palm tree was not the balloon's final destination, but an unspecified place nearby.