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Google has signed on smart-meter manufacturer Itron and eight utilities to support Google's PowerMeter Web service.

Update: Google has decided to discontinue this service - Post left in place as a memory of what could have been - The cynic in me wonders why they have done this. Could it be that there was not enough interest to drive the traffic they want?

Google PowerMeter reads a home's electricity meter and gives the consumer a detailed readout of usage.

The idea is that a better understanding of electricity usage--presented via daily trends and data on individual appliances--will help people figure out how to cut consumption.

It is estimated that simply surfacing information on trends and individual appliances will allow the typical consumer to lower electricity use by 5 to 15 percent.

Google's home energy-monitoring software relies on meters, or add-on devices, that can communicate usage information back to utilties. In a blog post on Tuesday, Google engineer Ed Lu said that the company is seeking to find more smart-meter vendors and utilities to offer PowerMeter.

"For now, Google PowerMeter is only available to a limited group of customers, but we plan to expand our roll out later this year," Lu wrote.

In a document prepared for utilities, Google says that PowerMeter is a free, opt-in service.

Credit: Google & Martin LaMonica, senior writer for CNET's Green Tech blog


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