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GM's OnStar boosted by Google technology

By Shawn Langlois
May 18, 2010 12:06:00 (ET)

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- General Motors Co. confirmed Tuesday it will bolster its in-car safety and
navigation service with Google Inc. technology to enhance the connected experience in the upcoming
Chevrolet Volt.

Similar to rival Ford Motor Co.'s (F, Trade ) arrangement with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT, Trade ), GM will pair its
OnStar system with Google's (GOOG, Trade ) Android operating system.

"While OnStar will never lose sight of our core focus on safety and security, this relationship is an example
of how we're evolving our leadership position in connected vehicle technology," OnStar President Chris
Preuss said. "What we're talking about today is only the beginning."

For starters, a new navigation tab has been added to the home screen of the existing Volt app that, when
pressed, will show the current location of the vehicle on Google Maps. Drivers can then search destinations
by voice command and send directions from the phone to the car.

Other features of the application, which were debuted earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in
Las Vegas, include the ability to receive email or text notifications from the car and a display showing
mileage readings and battery life.

Drivers using the app can also set the vehicle's interior temperature ahead of time and manually set
grid-friendly schedules for charging.

GM's move to tap Google is the latest attempt by a major auto maker to get a leg up on the competition when
it comes to in-car technology.

Ford's Sync system, created with Microsoft and launched in 2007, has a big lead, having already been
installed on more than 2 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. In March, Ford announced another
deal with the software king that, much like GM/Google app, will help minimize the impact on the power grid.

GM is slated to showcase the new functionalities of the mobile app, which comes free with an OnStar
subscription, to the public this week at the Google I/O conference in downtown San Francisco.

The plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt is expected to be launched later this year and is seen as a key component to
GM's drawn out recovery.

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