Google PowerMeter is a soon to be launched Google product intended to help educate users about their own power usage via the internet. This is but one of Google's ongoing projects to help save power and the environment.
According to the soon to be launched page at Google.org:
"To get started, we're working on a tool called Google PowerMeter which will show consumers their electricity consumption in near real-time in a secure iGoogle Gadget. We think PowerMeter will offer more useful and actionable feedback than complicated monthly paper bills that provide little detail on consumption or how to save energy."
According to the site, PowerMeter is in prototype but will receive information from utility meters and energy management devices to provide users with access to their own energy consumption directly from their iGoogle homepage.
"Is Google getting into the electricity business?" That is the question on people's mind since Google announced their new renewable energy sources initiative. Fact is, Google has lots of experience in finding new and innovative ways of using energy more efficiently. When you consider it takes about 700 machines to provide search engine results for one search query, that there are billions of search queries per day and that in addition, all of those machines must be kept cool 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year, it's obvious that search engine data centers require enormous amounts of electricity. According to one study, servers and their infrastructure world-wide use more than 45 billion kilowatt hours at a cost of over $7.2 billion per year. That is the same amount of electricity used to power the state of Mississippi in 2005.
Google currently uses a number of power-saving technologies at it's facilities ranging from evaporative cooling to high-efficiency lighting, to it's fleet of Toyota Prius automobiles, not to mention the almost 10,000 solar panels covering the roofs at Google's Mt. View, CA headquarters affectionately known as "the GooglePlex". Google's data center, currently under construction in the Netherlands will be powered in part by wind and Google already has at least one data center in The Dales, OR which is powered in part by hydroelectric power from the Columbia River. Another of Google data center located on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Georgia is guaranteed a minimum flow of 600cfs 24 hours per day by Federal Law. In addition to making data centers more energy efficient in 2007, Google joined Intel in the Climate Savers Computing Initiative to advocate more energy efficient computing infrastructures.