Ford and General Motors announce Google integration

The two largest carmakers in the US have confirmed that they are to integrate Google Mapping into their vehicle navigation devices.

Ford and General Motors both announced June 8 that customers will be able to send route maps from Google into their vehicles by the end of this month.

Ford drivers who are already using the brand's Ford SYNC with Traffic, Directions & Information (TDI) equipment will be able to select their destination and route on Google Maps before uploading it to the vehicle via a cloud-based app.

Users of General Motors' OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation Service will be able to use the OnStar eNav software to do the same thing.

However, whilst OnStar navigation is provided free for a year with nearly all General Motors vehicles, it requires a subscription thereafter - perhaps giving the free Ford SYNC service the edge in the eyes of consumers.

Convergence of in-car navigation and the offline world is becoming more common in today's vehicles, with Google becoming a de facto partner for many automobile manufacturers.

Last month, General Motors showed off an app based on Google's Android operating system, which allowed the handset to perform functions such as remote charge start, charge level display and remote start on the forthcoming Chevrolet Volt.

However, in his June 7 keynote speech at the Apple World Wide Developers' Conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs used a Nissan LEAF to show off his new advertising platform iAd on the iPhone 4 - leading some commentators to speculate that Nissan could be becoming the "official car" of Apple.

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