2014
07.03

Every time I explain to someone that our world is connected I can’t help but make the analogy to the 1987 movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles starring the late comedian John Candy. However, in our world we are connecting cars, homes, and everything.

Think about it. The race is on between Apple and Google for sure. Already we’ve written about Apple’s move into the connected car market with its CarPlay letting users connect their iPhones through its iOS and a Lightning cable with the help of Siri all while keeping the driver’s eyes on the road. Now it’s Google’s turn with Google Auto and a MicroUSB and Google voice search.

As an observer it’s really fascinating. Personally, I can’t help but like Google. This is a company that has its fingers in everything. At first it was talking searches, then platforms, then homes, wear, and now it’s cars. It wants to connect it all. We’ve been saying it for the past several years your mobile world will be completely connected and you will have a central hub that will be automatic and seamless.

So it was no surprise to anyone at Google’s I/O developer conference that the company announced Android Auto, which promises to extend the Android platform into our next car. We have been wondering when it was going to happen since we have been talking about an autonomous car now for far too long. Google wants to be, and is proving to be, a leader at all facets of the connected lifestyle.

While not much information is available just yet, but I can say this, Google is truly proposing what appears to be yet another step forward in making connectivity a ubiquitous feature in new cars. The Android Auto solution will offer an intuitive interface allowing drivers to interact with the data. The company says drivers will be less distracted. Personally, less distraction is music to my ears. Now I’m struggling with this since Google is the company behind the Google Glass, but I will be open minded and wait a little longer. But candidly, I have some serious doubts. Why you might ask?

The company says, whether it’s navigating using Google Maps, getting traffic updates along an intended route, or selecting the right playlist from our smartphones, Android Auto will connect user’s to an Android phone to his or her car, opening up new ways to control content and services through integrated steering wheel controls and voice commands.

The goal is to put the information consumers want and need at their fingertips. And while that all sounds good on face value—helping motorists keep their hands on the wheels and eyes on the road—which ultimately reduces the temptation to fiddle with a cellphone driving; I’m not 100% sure this will do the trick, since a distraction is a distraction—it all depends how much access Google will be providing to Android users at their fingertips. This little factoid still remains to be seen. Google says Android Auto will begin to appear in cars later this year.

The only question left to answer is who will own the road more: Google Auto or Apple CarPlay. The race is now on.

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