In just a couple of years, when someone asks you about your Ford car or truck, there’s another bit of information you’ll be able to drop on them besides its gas mileage or safety features — your car will most likely run on Android.
A new partnership announced this week between Google and Ford will bring Android to millions of new Ford and Lincoln vehicles, with the first models arriving in 2023.
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According to Ford’s announcement, the six-year collaboration will find Google stepping in as Ford's preferred cloud provider. That means Ford and Lincoln vehicles will feature Google apps and services including Maps and Assistant. They'll be available as soon as you buy the car, eliminating the need to attach a phone to activate the service.
While iOS owners won't be out in the cold, with the vehicles retaining Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa, the focus will be solely on Android services. There will obviously still be a need for flexibility across different devices, and luckily Google and Ford seem to recognize that.
In addition to their in-car collaboration, Google and Ford are putting together an alliance called Team Upshift. The initiative will find the team working with third-party app creators to make a bevy of more services and programs for cars that come with Android OS pre-installed. These apps and services can get data from the cars they're installed on, though the companies stress there won't be any personal data shared with developers.
Google and Ford say they’re teaming up to “push the boundaries of modernization, unlocking personalized customer experiences, and driving disruptive data driven opportunities.” According to Ford vice president David McClelland, that means new "retail experiences" for those in the market for a new car.
“There are a number of different applications, including modernizing product development, improving manufacturing and supply chain management, using computer vision, AI for employee training inspection of equipment on the assembly line,” said Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian in the post announcing the partnership. “We're also working together to create new business models for data — real time notices to consumers on maintenance requests or trading alerts.”
There are a variety of applications this partnership could spawn. There could be new programs that help drivers track problems or diagnose issues with their vehicles, or there could be a series of analytics stored in the cloud to assist technicians when they start looking at Ford and Lincoln vehicles to diagnose potential issues.
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Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over 13 years for publications including Tom's Guide, MTV, Rolling Stone, CNN, Popular Science, Playboy, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, and more. She's also appeared as a panelist at video game conventions like PAX East and PAX West and has coordinated social media for companies like CNET. When she's not writing or gaming, she's looking for the next great visual novel in the vein of Saya no Uta. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.