Google Unveils Smart Grid Application
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) unveiled its foray into the smart grid playing field today. The search-engine-tuned-Internet-giant company launched a prototype Web application called PowerMeter that displays home energy use as measured by smart meter hardware devices.
Google hopes to convince companies making smart meters to allow the information collected to be collected and displayed by PowerMeter.
The idea is that PowerMeter, which allows homeowners to monitor in real time the power being used by individual appliances in the home, will allow users to reduce their enegy consumption.
Google's entry into the smart grid sector is likely to have a big effect on the industry, which has yet to develop standard protocols for hardware and software communiciation. Currently, numerous companies are developing and marketing proprietary systems that would allow them to lock in arrangements with utilities and perhaps customers as well.
There is a push for smart grid technology to adopt Internet Protocol, a move that would undoubtedly benefit Google.
Google today also published recommendations to the California Public Utility Commission, advocating that smart meter data be available to consumers for free in standard formats.
"Unfortunately, many of today's smart meters don't display information to the consumer. We consider this unacceptable. We believe that detailed data on your personal energy use belongs to you, and should be available in a standard, non-proprietary format," according to the announcement on the Official Google blog.
In September 2008, the company announced a partnership with GE (NYSE: GE) to support the development of smart grid initiatives.
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