Google to unveil in-car OS at I/O 2014 to rival Apple CarPlay

By Alexandra Burlacu | Jun 19, 2014 07:21 AM EDT

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Google will reportedly unveil its very-first in-car operating system next week at its annual Google I/O conference, according to a new report.

Its archrival, Apple, launched CarPlay a while back and new vehicles have already implemented the service. Apple CarPlay involves partnerships with major automakers, including Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, and others. Google's upcoming service is widely seen as the company's answer to Apple's CarPlay and will launch as a direct competitor.

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The information comes from Automotive News, who has spoken with three separate sources familiar with the plans.

"Google Inc. will unveil its first in-car operating system at its annual developer conference this month, intensifying its race with Apple Inc. to become the leader in dashboard computing, three sources briefed on the project tell Automotive News," reveals the report.

According to the publication, Google's system was internally referred to as Google Auto Link (GAL) during development. This GAL will arrive as the first product to emerge from the Open Automotive Alliance, a Google-led consortium with heavyweight players including Audi AG, General Motors Co., Honda Motor Co., Hyundai Motor Group, as well as chipmaker NVIDIA.

"The sources said GAL is not an embedded infotainment system, but a 'projected' system - meaning that smartphones using Google's Android operating system could be controlled using a car's own controls and display screen," Automotive News further reveals.

Google reportedly plans to show off the interface and give demonstrations at the I/O 2014 conference, but will not announce at this time on which model it will launch first. Back in January, when the Open Automotive Alliance shaped up, the group pledged to bring the Android platform to cars starting this year.

Launching an Apple CarPlay rival would make perfect sense, as Google has already become involved in the automotive industry. The company has partnerships with several automakers already, which will likely facilitate its GAL push. Audi, for instance, signed an exclusive deal for its luxury vehicles to use Google Earth satellite images as an overlay for GPS maps, Automotive News points out. Hyundai, meanwhile, has built in a Google Search engine function into one of its cars, allowing drivers to find destinations with voice recognition.

Packing Android into future vehicles seems like a natural step for Google, especially since its operating system enjoys great popularity worldwide and its archrival has already launched CarPlay.

At the same time, Apple's and Google's involvement in the automotive arena would also benefit car makers, as they would no longer have to develop their own infotainment systems. As most consumers already use either Android or iOS, having similar platforms in the car as well would likely work seamlessly. Moreover, the two tech companies also have their dedicated communities of developers, while automakers have lacked this benefit for their own infotainment systems.



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google, Apple, CarPlay, Google Auto Link, Android in-car system, Google I/O 2014, Open Automotive Alliance

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