Google abandons smart grid project

Last week Google Inc. (Mountain View, Calif.) decided to discontinue its smart grid project due to lack of users. Google PowerMeter, a free energy monitoring tool, was launched by Google in 2009 by its philanthropic arm, Google.org.

On the Google PowerMeter website, all existing users are asked to export their data by September 16, 2011.

The smart grid project allowed customers to view their home’s energy consumption from an online service center. According to Google, having access to smart meter information helps consumers reduce their energy use by up to 15%.

Google originally partnered with 11 utility and smart grid manufacturers around the U.S. to deliver the PowerMeter.

In a statement on the PowerMeter website, Google states, “since our launch, there’s been more attention brought to the issue of giving consumers access to their energy data and we’re excited that PowerMeter has helped demonstrate the importance of access to energy information. However, our efforts have not scaled as quickly as we would have liked, so we have decided to retire PowerMeter.”

Microsoft (Redmond, Wash.), who also launched an energy monitoring tool in 2009 shortly after Google, has also recently moved away from the smart grid project. Microsoft Hohm, originally a tool for monitoring energy consumption, has been refocused to concentrate on charging electric vehicles.

Google has also planned to discontinue Google Health, an online health care service, by the first of January, 2012. The online health center allowed users to store, manage and share all of their health and wellness information.

A Google representative was not available for a comment on the matter.

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