It was only a matter of time: Following the launch of Apple's CarPlay in-car operating system at this year's Geneva Motor Show, Google is set to reveal its own automotive operating system. Known internally as Google Auto Link, the company will reveal its system at a software developer conference this month.
As Automotive News (subscription required) reports, Auto Link is the first product developed in conjunction with the Open Automotive Alliance, a group of companies including Audi, General Motors Company [NYSE:GM], Honda, Hyundai, chipmaker NVIDIA Corp and Google itself. Just like CarPlay, it's not an "embedded" system but a "projected" one—an operating system that uses a driver's own smartphone operating system. In this case, that's Google's Android OS, available on a multitude of hand-held devices.
The interface hasn't yet been revealed, nor has any announcement been made as to which automaker will use the system first. When the Open Automotive Alliance was formed, the group said it would bring Android to cars "starting in 2014". By contrast, Apple's system was demonstrated at Geneva in conjunction with Volvo, whose new touchscreen infotainment system will feature CarPlay in the next-generation XC90 SUV. Other automakers set to use CarPlay include Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz.
Apple's CarPlay interface closely resembles that familiar to iPhone and iPad users, and handles several in-car functions—as well as letting users bring up certain smartphone apps in their vehicles. Google itself is familiar to many drivers from existing interfaces. Audi uses Google Earth satellite images for its GPS maps, while some Hyundai drivers can use a built-in Google search engine and voice commands to find nearby destinations.
In addition to Auto Link, Google is also making noise regarding new Android platform features which, in Google's own words, "enable the car itself to become a connected Android device". More details of this are expected soon.