Images of Google PowerMeter, No Business Model


googlepowermetersly1Curious about what Google’s disruptive online energy management tool Google (s GOOG) PowerMeter’s gonna look like on your iGoogle homepage? This afternoon the team behind the search engine giant’s answer to the smart grid showed off some images of the PowerMeter iGoogle gadget (more screen shots below, both in expanded form and integrated in the iGoogle homepage). It’s pretty similar to what other Google tools look like, but it’s interesting to see the peaks and troughs of the energy data being integrated into such a routine format (the beginning of the new Internet of energy?)


Google’s Tom Sly also told the listeners on a call held to discuss the tool — among them utilities, device makers and press — that because Google’s philanthropic arm is running the PowerMeter program, the company is not developing a business model for it. Google is not charging the utility, the customer or the third-party device maker for PowerMeter data access, said Sly, which he said puts the company in a unique position to focus on innovation.


While Google recently announced utility partners for PowerMeter, Sly said it would be announcing more partners in the future. The Google PowerMeter team is also working on adding the ability to manage multiple data streams (not just one stream from a smart meter, but many streams from different smart appliances).



Mark Chance

@LibranLover – you may well be right about the audience, however, I think there’s clearly a market in the consumer devices. Today, the TED is available for $145 which does exactly what the partner smart meters do – more, actually, since it reports every second. (Note: I’m sure there other devices equivalent to TED, I’m just not aware of them. If I had financial interest in TED, I would disclose it. I don’t.)

Libran Lover

@Mark – Most (if not all) of the audience in today’s presentation were NOT consumers. Also, it is still somewhat expensive (think few hundred to few thousand bucks) for consumers to install their own smart meters or similar measuring devices which would send the usage data to Google. Hence, the low emphasis on the “consumer meter” side right now. You can expect this to change in the future.

@Alex – There ARE already companies whose business revolves around analyzing usage and bill data of utility customers. Some of their current offerings are much more sophisticated than PowerMeter. Compared to those apps, PowerMeter is just an infant. I am sure that Google will add a lot of that functionality to PowerMeter as the product evolves. More importantly, Google will use its two core strengths of having access to insane amounts of usage data and its expertise in data analysis to give PowerMeter an edge that few companies would be able to match.

Alex Portilla

It seems to me like there are quite a few companies that are trying to make a business out of what google plans on doing for free.

Mark Chance

Despite the glowing answer to my question (about personal devices attaching), there sure wasn’t much detail about the “consumer meter” side of the picture…

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