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Google energy app can generate profits

Logo for Google PowerMeter

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Our president has called Americans to save energy, and Google is here to help. The search giant said yesterday it's developing a free Web service to help you track your home energy use in real time. The company says users of its "PowerMeter application" can cut their electricity use 15 percent. Google also stands to gain. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Sam Eaton reports.


Sam Eaton: The only way to get consumers to use less energy is to first provide them detailed information on how they use it. And that's something Google knows how to do.

Kirsten Olsen Cahill manages Google's PowerMeter program:

Kirsten Olsen Cahill: Our bread and butter is organizing information and making it useful and accessible, and so energy information is no exception to that.

Google would partner with utilities that install smart meters on customer's homes. Those meters provide the raw data on home energy use, down to each appliance. And the technology is about to get a $4.5 billion boost from the congressional stimulus package.

Analyst Rob Enderle says Google stands to gain:

Rob Enderle: So for instance, they would know how many old TVs might be in a particular demographic and then would be able to target that demographic with offers for newer TVs at a time when those folks might be willing to buy them.

Creating a new breed of advertising, and a new reason to speed up the so called "smart grid" revolution: profits.

In Los Angeles, I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.
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