On 24th June 2011, Google announced that it was shutting down its Google PowerMeter project. This project was launched two years ago to raise awareness about the importance of giving people access to data. Google stated that “While they didn't catch on the way we would have hoped, we believe they did highlight the importance of access to information in areas where it’s traditionally been difficult.”
The tool will be shut down on 16th September 2011 to give users enough time to download their data before the end of the service.
PowerMeter originated from Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org and in the early days of PowerMeter, Ed Lu, one of the key members behind this project stated that it was not trying to build a business model around it. True to his words, its viability did raise some questions, at least at this juncture. Despite its exit, PowerMeter has demonstrated what consumption information can mean to the user.
In essence, Google has been a good advocate of energy efficiency management through their global outreach to individuals, which is good for all these roll-outs in the smart energy space, especially, with the recent spate of events experienced by PG&E on consumer backlash. Awareness has been a missing part in numerous smart meter deployments, so Google, in its ways, has been instrumental in that aspect. Give yourself a pat, Google!
What Google could have done was to leverage its forte in algorithm expertise in terms of analytics of energy consumption data with focus on the users, this could have been a more valuable resource to utilities as a value added service, rather than portraying an image of being the wall between utilities and customers. ABI Research has published a research report on the smart metering market. For additional information, please refer to the variety of products in our M2M Research Service and WSN Research Service