As I research Google's move into energy, I become fascinated by the idea that Google's influence on our lives may just be beginning. Sure the Google Toilet (video) may not be a real product but analysis of Google's potential in the smart grid market, coupled with the company's Android operating system leads at least one analyst, Jon Arnold to see a bright future of collaboration between smart devices in the home and the electrical grid.
I am sure we can all imagine connectivity between thermostats and a variety of electronic devices in the home which work together to reduce energy consumption. With global arctic temperatures turning arctic -- you may not be convinced global warming is real. The good news is, these products will likely save you money over time and thus pay for themselves - meaning you don't need to find global warming religion to get excited about the new energy saving product s of the future.
In order for us to achieve the utopian smart-device world where refrigerators speak with the electric company so as to use the least amount of energy when rates are highest and televisions sense you aren't in the room and power down - there will have to be a tremendous amount of needed interoperability work. A company like Google would be a logical one to play in this new world and generally speaking these moves would be consistent with the company's mission to organize the world's information.
How to monetize some of these initiatives will be a different story. Will Android-powered smart refrigerators sense there are a few eggs left and flash ads on your smartphone for the local supermarket? The same general principle takes place when you go to a supermarket or pharmacy today and receive coupons for products based on past buying trends. Taking it one step further and applying it to many household items does make sense.
What can a company with unlimited financial resources and tremendous ambitions do if it becomes a player in the electrical grid market - especially when you consider we are in a world where electronic devices are becoming more and more important?
What new ecosystems are going to be dreamt up and how will all these gadgets and gizmos talk to each other and make our lives better? What will power small devices which don't make sense to plug in? What new low-power communications standards are needed if any?
I have many more questions and am thankful I can get the answers to some of these questions at the Smart Grid Summit next week in Miami - Jan 20-22nd, 2010. The event is collocated with ITEXPO and Jon Arnold - the respected analyst who wrote the article which got me thinking about these issues is one of the major drivers and producers of the event. Be sure to come pick his brain. Global electric company execs are registering regularly for the summit and it should make for one great conference.
Even though no formal product has been announced by Google I
really like the idea of calling a new Google branded energy service - enerG, a Google approach to powering your life.