Google PowerMeter is part of a series of efforts by various large and small companies, including Green Goose and Microsoft, to launch better and smarter home energy monitoring services. Today, Google took the next step in its efforts to make PowerMeter a ubiquitous service by launching an API for PowerMeter that allows device manufacturers to create PowerMeter-compatible devices. This, according to Google, will allow hardware manufacturers to integrate "in-home/plug level energy monitoring devices with Google PowerMeter." Thanks to this, you may soon be able to check how much power your lamp or TV is currently using by simply checking the PowerMeter gadget on iGoogle.
It's important to note that this effort is separate from Google's work with utility companies to provide PowerMeter-compatible data to consumers. This new PowerMeter API is about providing a far more granular per-device or per-plug view of your power consumption. According to Google, the company decided to launch this API "in order to help build the ecosystem of innovative developers working towards making energy information more widely available to consumers."
How Will this Work in the Real World?
According to Google's developer guide, consumers who purchase a PowerMeter-compatible device would activate the device by surfing to the device's built-in HTML server (every PowerMeter device must have one) and configure and activate it. After linking the device to a PowerMeter account - and Google is clearly taking privacy seriously here judging from the instructions - the device will then ping Google every 10 minutes via a secure HTTPS connection to upload its data.
Google and Energy
Google has obviously been very interested in the energy business lately. Just last month, the company got regulatory approval to buy energy in bulk. Google is also using solar panels to power it's Mountain View, CA headquarters and has invested in a number of green energy projects and companies, including eSolar, a company that plans to develop numerous large solar energy projects around the world.