Google shuts down health, energy services

Google Health and Google PowerMeter weren't popular enough, the company said

Google plans to shut down two services that proved unpopular: Google Health and Google PowerMeter.

Google Health was designed to let people create and access a central repository for all of their health care information. It launched a beta of the service in mid-2008, about six months after Microsoft unveiled a similar offering called HealthVault. Skeptics wondered at the time if Google could secure the many partnerships it needed to make the project work, and whether users would entrust it with sensitive health data.

"Now, with a few years of experience, we've observed that Google Health is not having the broad impact that we hoped it would," Google executives wrote in a blog post.

While some fitness enthusiasts and tech-savvy patients adopted the service, Google failed to translate that usage into widespread adoption, the executives said.

Google will operate Google Health through Jan. 1 next year, and people will be able to download their health data for a year after that, in formats including an XML file that can be imported into other services including Microsoft's HealthVault.

Google will also soon down PowerMeter, a service that showed people information about their energy use as a way to encourage them to consume less electricity.

"Our efforts have not scaled as quickly as we would have liked, so we are retiring the service," Google said in the blog post. It will be shut down Sept. 16.

Microsoft also has a service, called Hohm, that lets people monitor electricity use in their homes.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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