Is Google developing a smart thermostat?

  • AFP
  • |
  • Updated: Dec 19, 2013 17:23 IST

The company is said to be testing an internet-connected device that will help consumers reduce household energy bills.

Rumors about Google and Apple surface regularly, but what adds weight to the report from website The Information is that Google already has a version of Android optimized for the connected home and that the company has already once tried to develop a smart thermostat but eventually scrapped the project.

The Information has spoken to reliable sources and has reviewed documents that claim the project is called Energy Sense and that the hardware for the system is from Ecobee, a company that already builds a smart thermostat.

But while the market for smart thermostats is clearly growing, it's doubtful that Google is planning to compete head-to-head with other companies, particularly Nest, the business that made the devices fashionable and desirable and in whom Google has a sizable financial investment.

More likely, and of greater potential benefit, is a suite of smart tools that would help consumers monitor and understand how they use energy and how they can change their habits.

Back in 2009, Google announced a web application called PowerMeter, which was designed to help consumers understand their electricity usage in real time and identify trends in the hopes of helping to change household behavior.

Although PowerMeter promised to help consumers save money, it never caught on and was eventually pulled in 2011.


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