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Meet Google Auto Link, CarPlay’s Newest Competition

June 18, 2014
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After Apple Inc. developed CarPlay and unveiled it at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show, people expected Google to follow and create their own in-car operating system. The people were right—the tech giant did follow Apple and has developed its own system. However, instead of launching the technology at an auto show, Google decided to reveal its latest project at its annual software developer conference later this month.

Google’s own in-car operating system is identified internally as Google Auto Link. As Automotive News pointed out, it is the first product created in partnership with the Open Automotive Alliance, a group of companies led by Google which include automakers (Audi AG, General Motors Co., Honda Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Group) and a chipmaker (NVIDIA Corp). Shortly after its formation in January, the Open Automotive Alliance announced that it will bring Google’s Android operating system to vehicles starting this year.

According to sources, Google Auto Link is similar to Apple’s CarPlay in the sense that both are ‘projected’ systems rather than ‘embedded’ ones. What this means is that the in-car operating system utilizes the operating system of the driver’s smartphone. In the case of Google, it is its Android, which currently powers a significant number of mobile devices. Google Auto Link will allow Android-powered devices to be controlled through the vehicle.

Google is expected to show the Google Auto Link interface and demonstrate how the system works at the Google I/O conference to be held on June 25 and 26 in San Francisco. However, sources say that the tech company will not yet name the first model or automaker that will use the system.

In March, Apple created quite a stir at the Geneva Auto Show when it demonstrated its CarPlay in-car operating system. The CarPlay’s interface looks like the interface one would find in the iPhone and iPad. Many automakers are expected to use the system, including Honda, Hyundai, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. CarPlay technology will first be available in the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class as well as the 2015 Volvo XC90, both of which are slated to arrive later this year.

Apple’s CarPlay technology basically integrates the iPhone and car, enabling the driver to access iPhone functions without touching the device. Once the device is linked to the vehicle with CarPlay, the driver can use apps through the latter. Users can listen to music, audiobooks or podcasts; make and answer calls; as well as get directions, among many others.

Photo credit: google.com/mobile/

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