Google may be taking another crack at tracking home energy use. According to The Information, the tech giant is currently testing web-connected thermostats that let users view home energy activity, and make adjustments. If that sounds familiar, it's because Google attempted something similar a few years ago called PowerMeter, a web dashboard that tracked an entire home's energy use. The program was killed off in mid-2011, with Google citing difficulties scaling it up. However the original mission statement for the effort, and what Google reiterated when killing off PowerMeter, was that people could trim energy use by 15 percent if they could see what was happening.

Not the first time for energy savings

This might be a better time for such a service, as indicated by a rising wave of connected home appliances. That includes Nest, which began with thermostats and has since moved onto smoke detectors. It's joined by a host of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-connected appliances that can pipe information to the cloud, from refrigerators to web cameras. For Google, and others, those devices represent a possible wealth of data. Don't get excited about the premise of a Nexus thermostat, though: The Information reports that Google would source devices from Ecobee, which makes its own line of smart thermostats.