Google Shuttering Ailing Google Health, PowerMeter

Google Health and Google PowerMeter are being closed down for a sheer lack of broad interest, according to the search engine. The services follow the failed Google Wave.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is closing Google Health and Google PowerMeter, two Web services for which the search giant held high hopes that failed to catch on over the last few years.

Launched in May 2008, Google Health was the company's effort to help people access their personal health records online, no matter where they are, from any computing device, through a secure portal.

"Now, with a few years of experience, we've observed that Google Health is not having the broad impact that we hoped it would," wrote Google Health Senior Product Manager Aaron Brown June 24.

"There has been adoption among certain groups of users like tech-savvy patients and their caregivers, and more recently fitness and wellness enthusiasts. But we haven't found a way to translate that limited usage into widespread adoption in the daily health routines of millions of people," he said.

The Google Health portal will be closed Jan. 1, 2012, though users may download their health data through Jan. 1, 2013. Google Health data will be deleted after that point.

Users may download their records to a printable PDF; a CCR (Continuity of Care Record) XML that can be imported into other personal health tools such as Microsoft HealthVault; CSV (comma-separated value) files that can be imported into spreadsheets and database programs; and via a ZIP archive.

Some folks were leery about entrusting their personal health care records to Google, but the fact is that the service never caught on because the vast majority of people simply aren't ready or willing to store and access their records online. As with Google Wave and other services, the search engine has shuttered, Google Health was ahead of its time.

The last time Health was updated was back in September 2010, with a redesign that included a dashboard for wellness tracking. Shortly before taking the CEO reins, Larry Page was reportedly intent on sunsetting Health. That brings us to the present.

Launched in February 2009, Google PowerMeter is a project to help consumers track their daily home energy usage in real time from an iGoogle gadget on their computers.

The tool, which draws information from a home smart meter, was tested by utility companies in California, Texas, Florida, India, Wisconsin, Missouri, Canada and Kentucky.

Google's Green Energy Czar Bill Weihl noted that since launching the product, people are paying more attention to tracking their energy consumption, with the notion of smart meters and other home-energy devices gaining steam in California and Texas.

"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," Weihl said.

PowerMeter users will have access to the tool until September 16, 2011, though users may download their data by logging in to their account and going to "Account Settings" to export to a CSV file.

Ironically, Google's sunsetting of PowerMeter comes as the company had revved up its green energy spending, which surpassed $780 million after a fresh, $102 million infusion in the Alta Wind Energy Center last week.