Google PowerMeter... err, powers your power meter

In a special IT Blogwatch Extra, Richi Jennings watches bloggers watch watch your power meter (phew). Not to mention Queen vs. Songsmith...

Jeremy Kirk sticks a fork into the outlet: [Don't try this at home, kids -Ed.] logo
Google is testing software that will let consumers get detailed information on how much electricity they're using, which could help households reduce consumption by as much as 15 percent, the company said ... Google PowerMeter, integrates into the company's iGoogle platform, where users create a customized page with lightweight Web-based applications.

The PowerMeter is designed to show a granular, real-time view of electricity-consuming devices ... [It] takes data from so-called "smart meters," or advanced electricity meters and other electricity management devices. About 40 million smart meters are in use worldwide, with that number expected to rise to 100 million in the next few years.

Eric Lundquist is breathless:

It seems to me that Google is releasing a service a day. Is it because the company has been around long enough that the beta products are making their way to the web? Or is because the faltering economy that includes high tech has spurred even the Google geeks to actually do something with their 20% projects instead of spending their time eating the free food and drinking the free drinks?


Google is partnering with utilities and appliance manufacturers to create a PowerMeter technology. The idea is that now your house or businesses power consumption will be able to be viewed and managed via Google. When you get tired emailing, GoogleTalking and Latitude tracking your friends, you can now spend your idle moments talking to your appliances.

Robert Scoble laughs and points:

That’s an effort that’s a little further out than the other stuff ... but will probably have a huge impact on our power bills as we get devices (and solar panels) that can use energy at more efficient and cost-effective times.


Thank you Google for all the fun stuff. What are you going to release in the next week? :-)

Ah, G's Ed Lu is on to it: [Oh no -Ed.]

Imagine how hard it would be to stick to a budget in a store with no prices. Well, that's pretty much how we buy electricity today. Your utility company sends you a bill at the end of the month with very few details. Most people don't know how much electricity their appliances use, where in the house they are wasting electricity, or how much the bill might go up during different seasons. But in a world where everyone had a detailed understanding of their home energy use, we could find all sorts of ways to save energy and lower electricity bills.


Google’s mission is to "organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful," and we believe consumers have a right to detailed information about their home electricity use ... That's why we believe that open protocols and standards should serve as the cornerstone of smart grid projects, to spur innovation, drive competition, and bring more information to consumers as the smart grid evolves.

Dave Jeyes fights the power company: [You're fired -Ed.]

Often homeowners receive very little information about their energy consumption from their utility companies. At the end of the month when the bill arrives, it’s too late to understand the impact of turning on a television or leaving on a lamp ... Most utility companies don’t provide any kind of real-time home energy monitoring tools for consumers.

Access to these tools can help an average family save anywhere from 5 to 15 percent on their power bill.

Sam Symons suggests:

This new tool may not sound very exciting, but it really could open up some wonderful possibilities. For example ... dishwasher manufacturers have been putting in chips that let you choose the time you run it. This, when paired up with the tool, could analyze your power costs, and then find the optimal time to run it. For example, if power costs are discounted at 3am in the morning, the dishwasher will run then, saving you money. It could also tell the user how much money they saved by doing so.

This prospect could go over to many power-dependent devices, such as smart cars. They take a lot of power to charge, and so PowerMeter could choose to run it at also the most cost efficient time.

Chris Morrison heads for the border:

The process should go fairly quickly. President Obama is pushing the smart grid, and there’s a big chunk of money set aside for it in the stimulus bill. General Electric just ran a Super Bowl ad about the smart grid, so it has entered the popular lexicon. Industry insiders estimate that smart grid devices should be widespread by next year. Then Google will be there, providing an interface with your devices.


Google is already going for full contact with your everyday life ... If it gets its wish, Google will be the real-life version of Taco Bell in “Demolition Man”.

And finally...

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 23 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email:

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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