Google CEO Eric Schmidt said at one point that one of the reasons Google wanted to get into radio advertising was that the company couldn’t reach users during the morning or afternoon commutes. That’s all changing very quickly. Both Google and Yahoo have almost simultaneously announced in-car mapping and local search functionality.
As an extension of its earlier “Send to Car” Maps partnership with BMW, Google has introduced in-car local search for BMWs in Germany. Here’s a video that partly illustrates the functionality. Google has also expanded the Send to Car Maps functionality to Italy and the UK. One would assume that in-car local search isn’t far away for those countries (and eventually the U.S.) as well.
The Search & Send feature debuts not only on high-end Mercedes-Benz models – the S-Class sedan and CL-Class coupe – but also on the much-anticipated new-generation C-Class model line which is currently arriving at dealer showrooms across the country. Search & Send will be phased in on additional Mercedes-Benz models during the coming year.
Maps and directions can be sent to the involved Mercedes via a desktop PC or a mobile phone. Here’s a page of videos that demonstrate the feature. At the beginning of this year, Yahoo announced a partnership with portable, in-car navigation provider Dash to deliver Yahoo Local content via Dash’s portable “Dash Express” device and system.
Personal navigation devices, such as Dash Express or TomTom, are quickly turning into more comprehensive local mobile search platforms. They can be used in the car or out of the car and on the go. Simultaneously the luxury car makers already have “points of interest” data in their on-board navigation systems. But the branded search deals mentioned above take that a step further.
Somewhere between the desktop and a mobile phone, in-car local search is an emerging arena for search engine competition, development — and potential future ad revenue.
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