Facebook, Google Maps Go Mobile in GMs High-End OnStar Cars

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Facebook, Google Maps Go Mobile in GMs High-End OnStar Cars

by Clint Boulton

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Rallying the Fans

OnStar President Chris Preuss rallies the modest crowd at a loft in the city. Preuss discussed the advancements OnStar has made in the market.

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Showing Off the Merchandise

OnStar packed five new gorgeous GM cars into the loft, fitting them with Facebook audio updates and Google Maps capabilities, as well as voice texting capabilities. Check out this GMC Terrain crossover.

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The Connected Corvette

Who doesn't love a brand new Chevy Corvette with telematics?

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Update Facebook in Your Cadillac

Not to boast, but do you see this Caddy, AKA the CTS-V? eWEEK will be sitting in it soon to check out the Facebook Audio updates.

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Facebook Audio Updates

OnStar officials showed us its experimental in-car social networking using Facebook. As demonstrated for eWEEK, Audio Facebook Updates allow OnStar subscribers to speak their status updates in a GM vehicle, such as this new Cadillac, and have them post to their Facebook account. Users may also retrieve and hear their most recent News Feed messages spoken back to them via the OnStar Virtual Advisor service. For example, an OnStar official posted this message from the Caddy to her FB account as shown here on a computer outside the car.

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Google Maps

Users may also shuttle their Google Maps destinations to their GM cars. As shown here, users choose a destination and click "Send" to send it to their OnStar account, which populates the map in a display in a user's vehicle.

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Under the Hood

Here is how Google Maps and OnStar get synced up.

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Buick Regal with Bluetooth SMS Service

OnStar officials showed off the experimental voice-based SMS (short message service) in this Buick Regal. This Bluetooth-based feature lets customers sync their mobile device to their vehicle to receive automated text messages.

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Sending Text Messages Through OnStar

An OnStar official sends a text from his Motorola Droid smartphone.

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Voice Texting in the Regal

The Regal's dashboard shows that a call or message is coming in. Users can reply to a text by verbally selecting a preset response.

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Controlling Voice Texting

These capabilities are controlled by the little button (with phone icon) mounted on the steering wheel.

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OnStar MyLink Diagnostic Tool

Another interesting technology from OnStar is MyLink, a diagnostic tool that assesses the car's needs. Users can check such things as fuel level, but also remotely start the engine or activate the horn, lights and door locks securely from Android and iPhone smartphones. Dane Fecher, engineering group manager for OnStar's mobile unit, shows off the MyLink app on his iPhone 4 here.

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MyLink on Droid, iPhone 4

Fecher shows MyLink side-by-side on the iPhone 4 and Motorola Droid smartphones. GM has tested this with its Chevy Volt and Cruze sedan. Chevrolet, Buick and GMC will all use this technology in the future.

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