Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Google PowerMeter - data wants to be free

The folks at Google.org have gone public with a prototype project they've had in skunkworks for a while called the Google PowerMeter. The idea is to help people understand their energy usage better by providing visualisation and analysis tools, in much the same way that Google already does for advertisers with its Adwords/Analytics tools.

Of course to visualise your energy consumption you first have to measure it. As they quote William Thompson, Lord Kelvin: "If you can not measure it, you can not improve it."And Google have spotted that although many of the Smart Meters currently being rolled-out in the USA do measure it, they don't then give consumers access to their own data. So Google are campaigning to change this, saying: "We believe that detailed data on your personal energy use belongs to you, and should be available in a standard, non-proprietary format."

We couldn't have said it better ourselves - AlertMe passionately believes that data wants to be free, and from the start our customers have been able to export their data manually, into a spreadsheet. Now we're exploring ways to integrate seamlessly with new online tools like PowerMeter so that our customers can ever-more easily engage with their energy usage.

(on an almost entirely unrelated note, but on the general theme of doing a great job of visualising data, if you haven't already seen it do check-out Hans Rosling's 2006 talk at TED - he does a fantastic job of making dry statistics leap out and dance - a real delight.)