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MONITORING YOUR ELECTRICITY USAGE - Google's latest invasion of privacy

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User ID: 588091
United States
02/10/2009 03:00 PM
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MONITORING YOUR ELECTRICITY USAGE - Google's latest invasion of privacy
[link to www.pcmag.com]

Google.org is looking to help out with your electric bill. The search giant's charitable wing has announced the Google PowerMeter, an app designed to help users track their home electricity usage.

The application, which lives as a widget on iGoogle, communicates with the nation's 40 million smart meters, and shows consumers their home energy information almost in real time on their computer screens.

"We believe that detailed data on your personal energy use belongs to you, and should be available in an open standard, non-proprietary format," Ed Lu of Google's engineering team, wrote in a blog post. "You should control who gets to see your data, and you should be free to choose from a wide range of services to help you understand it and benefit from it."

The app is still in testing mode at the moment, but Google expects to make it more widely available in the near future.

Lu urged federal and state governments, utilities, device manufacturers, and software engineers to help Google with the effort. Together, they can "empower consumers to use electricity more wisely by giving them access to energy information," he wrote.

Google filed comments this weekend with the California Public Utility Commission urging it to update its smart grid policy to include principles that would allow for free, standardized, and direct access to real-time electricity usage information.
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