The Information is reporting that Google is testing a new kind of internet-connected thermostat, which allows homeowners to track energy activity and adjust usage remotely.
If that sounds at all familiar, it's because (a) it's the same as Nest and (b) Google has already given it one shot already. A couple of years ago it developed PowerMeter, which was a web dashboard capable of tracking a home's energy use. The initiative died in 2011 because, Google claimed, it proved difficult to scale up.
If the rumor is to believed, Google now clearly thinks the time is right for such a device. That might be true: cool as Nest is, it's largely been the preserve of early adopters. Perhaps now we're about to hit a period where smart and connected home appliances, like thermostats and smoke alarms, become way more popular.
Certainly, cynics might argue that as far as Google is concerned there's a wealth of data sat out in homes around the world just waiting to be recorded. For the rest of us, smart thermostats offer an interesting and intelligent way to save some money. The Information suggests that Google might source devices from Ecobee—which already makes smart thermostats—rather than making its own. But let's wait and see if the rumor itself is true first. [The Information via Verge]
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