From: Low Impact Living
Published February 18, 2009 09:47 AM

Google Searching For An Electricity Meter Near You

Knowledge is power, right? We’ve written before about our belief (from our own personal experiences) that one of the best motivators for going green is simply knowing what your impact is. Knowing how much energy you use, carbon you spew, or trash you generate inevitably leads to the desire to cut back (unless you’re one of those carbon-neutral zero-energy composting machines who’s already pegged out at zero. Or a Hummer driver and you just don’t care). Well, the folks at Google announced a potentially important step on the path to real-time insight recently: development of the Google Powermeter.


What is it? Well, it’s another example of Google doing what Google does best: compiling information from a multitude of sources and displaying it in an easy-to-use, intuitive format on the web. For free. In this case, it’s your electricity usage.  Before you get online and try to add the Powermeter to your iGoogle page, there’s a catch. You’ll need a Google-compatible smart meter or electricity monitoring device at your home in order to collect your energy usage information the Powermeter needs. Because it is still in testing, Google hasn’t announced yet who the device partners will be. Most of us don’t have the right devices yet, but we will soon, either courtesy of our local utilities or because we’ve gone out and purchased some of the inexpensive DIY devices that are popping up.

This is pretty exciting, for we haven’t found too many examples of Google offering something that doesn’t make our lives easier … that is, as long as you don’t dwell too long on the privacy implications of all that data they have access to! While we wait anxiously for the details, I’d like to offer a few suggestions to Google (bold, I know) that might make the Powermeter a useful new part of our daily web routines.

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