Salesforce and Toyota are teaming up to roll out Toyota Friend, a private social network connecting Toyota owners to their cars, Toyota and others.
sells itself as a social network for businesses, allowing workers to share
information in ways made familiar by Facebook and Twitter.
Now, with a
new strategic alliance with Toyota, it seems as if Salesforce is angling to
become the social network for cars.
has resulted in Toyota Friend, a private social network that connects Toyota owners
to their cars, dealership and Toyota itself. That means one's Toyota will now
send Twitter-style alerts in response to maintenance issues, in addition to
product tips and service information. On top of that, suggests a May 23 press
release issued by both companies, "customers can choose to extend their communication
to family, friends and others through public social networks such as Twitter and
will also offer interoperability with smartphones and tablets. Statements from
Salesforce and Toyota executives played heavily on the concepts of "the future"
and "evolution," with Toyota president Akio Toyoda quoted as saying: "Social-networking services are transforming human interaction and modes of
communication. The automobile needs to evolve in step with that
Up until this
point, Salesforce seemed to concentrate largely on building "traditional"
social-networking applications such as its Service Cloud, a customer service
platform that lets businesses analyze and respond to customer feedback
filtering from social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The company also
offers Chatter, which lets employees communicate and share files in a
said, Salesforce has always positioned itself aggressively to expand into new
territory, and perhaps cars are the next logical step.
Once upon a
time, an automobile was little more than an internal combustion engine welded
to a couple of seats and maybe a radio capable of picking up the local
classic-rock station. That was before technology progressed to the point where
dashboard screens, in-vehicle chipsets, WiFi capability and new software now
threaten to turn your four-wheeler into a glorified 2-ton laptop. That dim
buzzing sound you're hearing is Steve McQueen rolling in his grave.
In new Ford
vehicles, for example, Microsoft's Sync gives drivers access to hands-free
calling, audible text messages, music search and navigation help. Cars from
other manufacturers, meanwhile, offer the ability to sync smartphones with
their onboard systems.
or no, many of the vehicles hitting the road within the next year
will embrace either an electric motor or hybrid solution, if they don't try to
squeeze every ounce of possible mileage out of the old-fashioned internal-combustion engine. In the case of many models, that maximized efficiency also
comes with a smaller size, although car designers have worked hard to ensure a
maximum of cargo space and the ability to seat five passengers of normal size.