Consumers might one day be able to get a detailed look at their energy consumption using a tool being developed by Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org.
Google PowerMeter is intended to provide real-time information about home energy use to raise consumers’ awareness and potentially inspire them to be more energy efficient.
The tool, which is being tested with some Google employees, would graph electricity and gas use through Google’s iGoogle home pages. Users would have to add a PowerMeter widget to their page to get access to the chart, which shows spikes in energy consumption over the day.
The initiative depends on utility companies installing what are known as smart meters, devices that digitally track energy consumption in greater detail than most meters currently in use. There are 40 million smart meters in use worldwide, with another 100 million planned in the next few years, according to Google.