Google is currently testing a software tool dubbed the PowerMeter than can tap into the stats that ‘smart’ power meters monitor. It isn’t meant for the power companies so much as it is meant to enable consumers to monitor and shepherd their own usage. Currently, there are over 40 million US homes scheduled to get smart meters in the next 3 years. FAQ.
Here’s a screenshot of what the tool may look like:
What’s in it for Google? Well, it is being run out of their philanthropic arm, so they can argue that it is in the best interest of both consumers and the environment, but there can certainly be more. Robert Cringley believe it’s a precursor to Google becoming your ISP via the power line. Yes, networking over power lines. I think he may very well be right.