Android Cars – Why Google wants your next car to be Android

Technology never ceases to amaze. CES 2014 is going to show off some pretty bizarre technology and gadgets and that’s a given. I’m here to talk about cars and what the future might look like. I would consider it the next big frontier. If you’re Google, getting their operating system Android into your living room might be at the top of their wish list, but cars and vehicles must come in second on the Google wish list. Agree or disagree?

Google has created a group of partners including some of the biggies in the automotive world to get Android into their vehicles. Apple has already moved in this direction and has also tied up some partners. What you’re going to get in vehicles is likely what you’re getting in smartphones, tablets, and computers. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Can you imagine the next Honda Civic and asking the sales person what version of Android it’s running? Sounds funny, but I’m sure it’s going to be a reality in the very near future. Imagine saying “Okay Google” when you step into your car. Don’t laugh, people are already doing it with their smartphones, so why not cars too?

Android for Google is really their vehicle for getting you and keeping you in the Google ecosystem. The more devices and “things” that use it, the better off for Google in the long run. Is this a bad thing? Right now it’s not, but you just never know what the future holds. Google needs your trust and mine if they want to be included in our lives. If they breach that trust and do funny things with privacy, I’m sure that will be their undoing. That said, they are smart and don’t expect them to tick off the public on any scale that matters.

I can see one primary and interesting benefit in Android cars. Traffic and traffic reporting. You might not need to use a smartphone to see what traffic is doing and where the backups are because your cars might be feeding the Google mothership that data. If a collection of Android cars are stuck in traffic, that can send a signal to a traffic app without you having to lift a finger. All you will have to do is give the “go” to allow Google to use your data in this way. In a way this already happens so it’s not some ground breaking concept. What I would say though is that if my car is going to supply data to an app or something that makes money from my data, then please pay me for my data! I know some of us call to radio stations and give then up to the minute traffic reports, but don’t you think that you’re giving content to the radio station that gets advertisers to pay for spots? The way I see it is that if my data is helping you make revenue, then I want a piece of that revenue. That’s why they pay recording artists when they play their songs on the radio.

So in 2014 and beyond, we will not only be talking cosmetics of cars, but we will be talking about their software integration. Apple powered or Google powered? That is the question. I do wonder if they will have 3 versions of say the Honda Accord. Apple iOS, Android, and no OS. Do you think those privacy concerned folks will be able to have a Apple or Google free version?

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