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Google Announces Push for More Connected Cars

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), taking place this week in Las Vegas, highlights just how connected our everyday lives could be. While the utility of a toothbrush with Internet connectivity might be a bit dubious, Google has teamed with several carmakers to promote the expansion of the company’s Android operating system in the nation’s cars.

(General Motors)

The Open Automotive Alliance says its members “share a vision for the connected car, and are committed to collaborating around a common platform to make this vision a reality.”

Members of the Alliance are Google, General Motors, Audi, Hyundai and Honda.  NVIDIA, a company that specializes in “visual computing,” is also a member. According to a press release the Alliance put out, “The OAA is aimed at accelerating auto innovation with an approach that offers openness, customization and scale, key tenets that have already made Android a familiar part of millions of people's lives.” The OAA adds, “This open development model and common platform will allow automakers to more easily bring cutting-edge technology to their drivers, and create new opportunities for developers to deliver powerful experiences for drivers and passengers in a safe and scalable way.”

TechCrunch notes that the Open Automotive Alliance may be a bit late to the game.  The publication reports that in June of 2013, “Apple confirmed it is working with car makers on an initiative called ‘iOS in The Car’ to enable iDevice owners to use their gadgets to do stuff like play music, display maps, dictate messages in their cars, starting in 2014.” Car brands that signed up for that program include Nissan, Infiniti, Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Chevrolet, Kia, Jaguar, Hyundai, Volvo and Acura.

It’s worth noting that with Chevrolet’s participation in Apple’s in-car connectivity program (Chevrolet is a General Motors brand), every car manufacturer with the exception of Audi in the Open Automotive Alliance is also a player in Apple’s push for more in-car connectivity. Working with both Google and Apple operating systems make sense for most car companies, as they won’t want to turn away potential customers who prefer one system over the other.

How important is in-car connectivity to you? Do you shop for cars based on how well they integrate technology, like a smartphone, you already have?

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