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Google EnergySense to Power Smart Thermostats: Everything We Know so Far

Yesterday, a report out of The Information surfaced suggesting that Google was interested in entering the smart thermostat arena, a space currently with few players, though one could argue that Nest has done a great job at dominating it. The report claims that Google is currently trial testing a service dubbed EnergySense, using Ecobee Smart Si thermostats through “Trusted Testers.” We can confirm through sources that the program is indeed live, is called EnergySense, utilizes both a web interface and Android app, and looks a hell of a lot like Nest

What is EnergySense?

EnergySense is a service that allows you to control the heating and cooling in your home through a web interface or a mobile app. The current trial program through “Trusted Testers” involves an Ecobee Smart Si thermostat that Google is sending out to participants to be installed in homes. Once hooked up and connected, the goal is to hopefully help people optimize energy use in homes, since heating and cooling is almost always the biggest contributor to energy use. Like Nest, the ability to easily monitor your home heating and cooling is also very convenient when using a mobile or web app.

The current plan is to end this testing period in January of next year. In terms of a public rollout, we do not have that info.

Will EnergySense help save money on your bills?

It could, but Google really only seems to want to worry about convenience and understanding energy use patterns at this time. Obviously, the end goal is to figure out how to reduce energy, but that’s exactly what this trial period is for.

What does EnergySense look like?

Up top, we have a screenshot from the web interface showing the scheduling system and temperature settings for when you are Awake, Away, Home, or Asleep. You can set EnergySense to turn off when you are away, come back on at times when you expect to be around your house, and even automatically adjust when you typically go to sleep. You can control heating or cooling, turn fans on or off, etc. Again, the whole thing looks a lot like Nest, including the UI, though this is a bit more cartoonish than Nest.

And last, here is an image of the app.


And that’s pretty much all we know. The program is in trial, but could become something of a reality at some point. Keep in mind that Google is always testing new things, so there is no guarantee that we’ll see this down the road. In the mean time, if you are interested in smart thermostats, be sure to read our Nest review from earlier this year.

  • markgbe

    i want this

  • Jonathan Melhuish

    Great detective work, guys! It’s a bit disappointing if Google are just developing yet another “remote control thermostat” though. I mean it’s a great start, but there’s already several of those available and also one that goes a step beyond: the Heat Genius “intelligent heating controller” uses motion sensors to learn when you use each room of your house and schedule individual radiators to come on at the right times.. and turn off when you leave the room. Neat!

    Looks like it’s already available in the UK and has an Android app: http://www.heatgenius.co.uk

    It’s certainly an interesting-looking system, I wonder how well it works.. hopefully we’ll see a review on droid-life.com soon? 🙂

  • socalrailroader

    We have a smart Thermostat through PG&E’s Smartmeter program, and it was free. 🙂

  • Dave Hawthorne

    Given this last update with NEST to 4.0 during Thanksgiving and the tizzy it threw everything into when the weather turned cold, it is a nice shot over the bow at Nest that they better shape up and start listening to the customer rather than dictating what they need. The software updated whether you want it or not and left tons of customers scrambling (they downplay it-but you can’t get thorough to CS for hours) to get the thermostats powered back up (or replaced) after the battery drained due to a network issue. Personally right now I would welcome a thermostat with features that Nest seems to refuse to implement. Having spent the full retail for the Nest I need to get a little more mileage out of the thing before changing but Nest isn’t so shiny anymore folks.

  • Chris

    o look… google wants to play with the big boys. The android nerds in their mothers late 70s/early 80-s house already has a thermastat from that era!

  • matt

    I like how Google picked ecobee as its test unit. In the world of smart thermostats, ecobee is the android and nest is the apple. I have an ecobee and I love it. Hopefully Google will support those who already have an ecobee.

    • S.Ober

      exactly what I was thinking, I can tweak all kinds of settings with my Ecobee Smart thermostat. Hope they don’t limit to just the smart SI version.

  • Devon

    I was leaning towards going with a mi casa verde with a compatible thermostat in the spring. Then adding a few switches and plugs for lights and such, maybe even a door lock. Paired with Tasker it should be a great setup. But I need to be sure that system is what am looking for and affordable.

    Hey maybe you guys can do a write up on home automation systems compatible with android.

  • Graham Green

    They hinted at this at Google I/O this year didn’t they. Or is my memory failing me?

    • John Sanatar

      I feel like it might have been two I/Os ago.

      • Graham Green

        Yep, [email protected] was first mentioned in 2011, there was some buzz about it making an appearance in Android 4.2.2
        The docs for the Accessory Development Kit haven’t been updated since 2012.

        • Kevin

          They said something about Android controlling the light bulbs in your house and how the theme will change when you are playing a game or listening to music on your phone.

  • Huh, battery stat percentage is enabled on that screenshot.

    Guys, let’s speculate.

    • HaveSomeVodka

      The battery stat percentage is already “natively” supported in KitKat, but Google hasn’t enabled it yet. But it can be easily enabled with an app (it can be found on XDA) or an ADB command.

      • I know. Which is why I said “enabled.”

  • bd1212

    So Google will be able to control my house (EnergySense), has all my personal information (Gmail, Google+), and knows everything about me (Google Now)… This is strange world we live in, and I like it. 😀