Google wants to light up your home

Sarah Gardner Nov 24, 2011

Jeremy Hobson: Well we now know how many companies it takes to change a lightbulb: Two. Google and LED-maker Lighting Science Group are getting ready to launch a new ultra-efficient bulb that can be easily controlled wirelessly.

From the Marketplace Sustainability desk, Sarah Gardner reports.

Sarah Gardner: You might call this the lazy man’s light bulb. All you need to control it is an Android phone in your pocket, says energy analyst Justin Molavi at IBIS World.

Justin Molavi: So the idea is you’d be able to walk inside and outside of a room and the light would respond to your presence, meaning it would turn on and turn off.

It’s Google’s first foray into home automation, where your smartphone can act as a sort of remote control for home appliances. Google hopes the new light bulb will fare better than solar research it scrapped this week, and its now-defunct Google Power Meter. That was software to help consumers monitor their energy use. But that apparently took too much effort, Molavi says. This new wireless light bulb, just the opposite.

Molavi: And they see a better business proposition with that.

Google’s energy bets go far beyond light bulbs. The company has now invested almost $800 million in renewable energy projects, including the world’s largest wind farm.

I’m Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

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