Google to reveal in-car operating system. Should Apple be worried?

Earlier this year, Apple launched CarPlay, an in-car operating system. However, Google will reveal its own version, Google Auto Link, at a software developer conference later this month.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/File
A man walks past a Google sign at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

It was only a matter of time: Following the launch of Apple's CarPlay in-car operating system at this year's Geneva Motor Show, Google is set to reveal its own automotive operating system. Known internally as Google Auto Link, the company will reveal its system at a software developer conference this month.

As Automotive News (subscription required) reports, Auto Link is the first product developed in conjunction with the Open Automotive Alliance, a group of companies including Audi, General Motors Company [NYSE:GM], Honda, Hyundai, chipmaker NVIDIA Corp and Google itself. Just like CarPlay, it's not an "embedded" system but a "projected" one—an operating system that uses a driver's own smartphone operating system. In this case, that's Google's Android OS, available on a multitude of hand-held devices.

The interface hasn't yet been revealed, nor has any announcement been made as to which automaker will use the system first. When the Open Automotive Alliance was formed, the group said it would bring Android to cars "starting in 2014". By contrast, Apple's system was demonstrated at Geneva in conjunction with Volvo, whose new touchscreen infotainment system will feature CarPlay in the next-generation XC90 SUV. Other automakers set to use CarPlay include Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz.

Apple's CarPlay interface closely resembles that familiar to iPhone and iPad users, and handles several in-car functions—as well as letting users bring up certain smartphone apps in their vehicles. Google itself is familiar to many drivers from existing interfaces. Audi uses Google Earth satellite images for its GPS maps, while some Hyundai drivers can use a built-in Google search engine and voice commands to find nearby destinations.

In addition to Auto Link, Google is also making noise regarding new Android platform features which, in Google's own words, "enable the car itself to become a connected Android device". More details of this are expected soon.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.