Google's PowerMeter, a piece of software that uses information from smart meters to help save energy, has been in testing for a number of months. But when it is released later this year, less than 10% of all homes will be hooked up to smart meters. So today, Google announced that it is partnering with The Ted 5000, a $200 energy-monitoring device that lets customers who lack smart meters use the PowerMeter software.
The TED 5000, manufactured by Energy Inc., gathers energy usage data from outlets and displays it wirelessly on either the TED screen or on a computer via the PowerMeter software. Data will also be retrievable through iGoogle for cell phones.
For now, the TED 5000/PowerMeter pairing is limited to North America. Eventually, though, Google plans to bring many more gadget makers onboard. The search giant's willingness to bypass smart meters means that the majority of Americans can get started on the business of energy conservation sooner rather than later—no smart meter required.