Google Maps Comes to Ford, OnStar via GPS
Ford and General Motors' OnStar unit said June 8 drivers will be able to e-mail directions from Google Maps using their mobile phones to certain motor vehicles.
Ford's Sync Traffic, Directions and Information app, a program that lets drivers access voice-activated services through their mobile phones to communicate with their vehicles, is letting users access Google Maps.
The new Send to Sync feature lets drivers send destinations using Google Maps from their desktops, laptops or smartphones to their 2010 model and later Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicles.
The idea is to cut out the classic practice of searching for directions on Web services such as Google Maps and printing them out.
Instead, drivers will transmit directions via the cloud to their Ford vehicle's Sync application when the Send to Sync capability launches later this month. Ford said it is offering the same feature for MapQuest, which will launch later this year.
Ford said the app uses a customer's mobile phone voice plan and the vehicle's integrated GPS receiver to shuttle driving directions or business searches, as well as horoscopes, news, movie listings and stock quotes.
When drivers visit Google Maps on the Web from their computers and smartphones, they will be able to send directions to their Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle via the GPS option in the Send menu located in the upper right-and corner of the map.
Drivers will connect to Sync TDI, for car owners who have registered for TDI access here, using the Services voice command. When prompted, drivers can confirm the request to download the Google Maps direction to the vehicle.
"Printing paper directions from a Website is a relic in our digital age," Doug VanDagens, director of Ford Connected Services Solutions Organization, said in a statement.
"With Send to Sync, you can map a destination at home, at work-wherever you have connectivity-and when you get to your car, it already knows where you want to go. It's convenient, and it eliminates the waste and distraction of paper maps, conserving resources while helping drivers keep their eyes on the road."
Ford is not the only company doing such directional information exchange over the cloud.
General Motors, which is adding features for its Chevrolet Volt application that help users track their vehicles using Google Maps, said its OnStar roadside assistance service will now let users search for and send Google Maps directions to the navigation service in their vehicles.
Just as with the Ford Sync app, drivers using the new OnStar eNav turn-by-turn navigation feature will search for directions on Google Maps, click the GPS option in the Send menu located in the upper right-hand corner of the map and send the directions to their GM cars.
The new OnStar feature will become available through Google Maps at the end of June.
The app will work on all current turn-by-turn capable GM vehicles from the 2006 model year on and will integrate with the OnStar Destination Download to send destinations directly to the vehicle's navigation system.
Google applauded adoption of Google Maps by GM and Ford, as a spokesperson said:
The new support for Google Maps means the app will gain more traction among the millions of drivers of Ford and GM cars and trucks.
That's valuable action at a time when the search engine is seeking to not only maintain its massive Web services user base, but grow it in the face of Internet rivals Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook.