Google Kills Off Health, PowerMeter Services

Google's always taken the spaghetti-on-the-wall approach to its numerous tech initiatives: Boil up something clever and toss it on the wall. If it sticks--think Android--hey, fantastic. If it falls to the floor--Google Wave and other flops come to mind--well, better luck next time. Unfortunately, the search giant has two more nonstarters to add to its long list of flubs: Google Health and Google PowerMeter.

In a Friday blog post, Google announce it's shuttering the two services, neither of which caught on in "the way we would have hoped." Google Health launched in 2008 and was designed to give users an easier way to access their personal health records. And PowerMeter, home energy-conservation software that worked with a new breed of "smart meters," debuted in 2009.

Medical Records Online--NOT

From the start, Google Health raised privacy concerns, as critics questioned the wisdom of entrusting one's medical records to Google. Users could manually add personal medical data to their Google Health profiles, or transfer digital records to the service. The long-term goal was for health care providers to allow patients to automatically import their medical files to Google Health.

The service never caught on with the general public, although Google says select groups of techies and fitness buffs have adopted it.

"Now, with a few years of experience, we've observed that Google Health is not having the broad impact that we hoped it would... But we haven't found a way to translate that limited usage into widespread adoption in the daily health routines of millions of people," writes Google.

Google Health will close on January 1, 2012. Users will be able to download their Google Health data through January 1, 2013.

PowerMeter's Blackout

PowerMeter is a green initiative that floundered for a couple of years before Google decided to pull the plug. A free software program that works with a home's utility smart meter, PowerMeter graphs daily electricity consumption. The monitoring tool was designed to help households cut energy use by as much as 15 percent.

While smart meters and home energy management systems have generated a lot of attention since PowerMeter's launch, including a US government initiative to upgrade the nation's aging electrical grid, Google's service didn't exactly generate sparks.

"We're pleased that PowerMeter has helped demonstrate the importance of this access and created something of a model. However, our efforts have not scaled as quickly as we would like, so we are retiring the service," Google writes.

PowerMeter stays live through September 16, 2011. Users can go here for instructions on how to export their data.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci ) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com .

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