GM Helping Facebook Invade Your Car

Posted: September 15, 2010

It happens to all of us:  you’re stuck in traffic when you have a brilliant observation on the human condition that simply must be shared. But, oh no! To post it on Facebook and bask in the adoration of your 987 “friends”, you’d have to pull out your phone and start typing – a big no-no when you’re on the road.

Don’t worry.  GM has your back.

USA Today writes, “General Motors could soon be offering drivers something they probably didn't know they wanted: The ability to have their cars read their text messages aloud and to dictate Facebook status updates through the car.”

GM’s is relaunching its OnStar service, which is best-known for its ability to notify emergency responders of a crash, even if the vehicle’s occupants are incapacitated.  Now, the company is tweaking OnStar to act as part of a high-tech suite of features to compete with Ford’s SYNC infotainment system by adding Facebook to the OnStar mix.

The Onstar Facebook application would “let drivers talk to their cars to update status messages on the Facebook social media website, as well as listen to Facebook messages,” reports the Associated Press, adding “GM also is testing a feature that would read cellular telephone text messages to drivers and allow them to respond by picking one of four preset replies with a button on the steering wheel.”

If Onstar reads and responds to texts on the road, it will become a direct competitor to Ford’s SYNC system, which can read incoming texts and use voice commands to control Bluetooth enabled cell phones and portable music players. The SYNC system is very well-liked by car reviewers, and some say it’s given Ford and edge over GM.

“OnStar will also launch an ad campaign in mid-September with the tag line ‘Live On,’ [a GM] source said. GM executives realize Ford’s image has benefited from marketing Sync, the person said, and GM wants to catch up,” writes the Detroit Free Press.

The OnStar Facebook app should appear in GM cars soon. Jalopnik says using it to update Facebook looks “easy and seems to be fairly safe to do. … And by safe we mean as safe as you can be yelling commands at a car while you're weaving through traffic, but whatever.”

There’s no word if OnStar will allow people to use Twitter from their cars, but you can always follow us on Twitter at USNewsCars. If you’re in the market for a new car, check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars as well as this month's best car deals.

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