Google X has a project underway to create a global network of thousands of Wi-Fi connected balloons to provide affordable Internet access for everyone. They call it Project Loon.
They've created an altitude control system, balloons that circle the earth every 22 days and implemented GPS, communications and on board computers to guide the balloons.
Maybe the most eye-popping statistic or claim is that for every 10% increase in the country's Internet coverage their gross domestic product increases by 1.4%. This type of change in GDP is associated with higher standards of living higher education levels in better health.
Maybe it's not so much hot air! Check it out - http://www.google.com/loon