Google's X continues to take big ideas and turn them into independent pursuits. Wing seeks to develop a drone-delivery system and Loon relies on high-flying balloons to deliver Internet access. Both are now separate companies operating under the Alphabet umbrella.
Loon and Wing, two research projects developed within Google's secretive X research facility, are becoming standalone businesses within Alphabet, Google's parent company announced Wednesday.
Loon is the project that releases massive balloons into the stratosphere carrying the gear needed to supply people in rural communities with an internet connection. Wing seeks to develop the means to deliver goods to consumers via drone aircraft.
Alphabet said the companies' financial performance will be included in Alphabet's earnings statement under the "Other Bets" category.
Neither one of these companies has shown any sign of adding significant revenue to Alphabet's bottom line any time in the near future, but that's not the point. Google's management created X to nurture big ideas with an eye on changing the world. Whether either of these two new businesses can help in that endeavor remains to be seen.
But X has seen some success. One of its other graduates, Waymo, is the autonomous-car business that analysts believe could change the world while also enabling Alphabet to pocket enormous profits.
Mark Mahaney said in a report on Tuesday that because Waymo is so far out in front of competitors in the burgeoning self-driving car market, he expects investors could soon bid up Alphabet shares. He also estimated that Waymo could see operating profits of as high as $35 billion by the year 2030.