General Motors announced Friday that it will join other automakers in further integrating the Google ecosystem into its infotainment systems, starting with the implementation of Google Assistant for the 2021 model year.
The integration means a deeper collaboration between GM and Google, which already uses an older Android-based framework for its infotainment systems. This move will appeal to customers, GM research says, who "...increasingly expect seamless integration between the tech in their hands and the tech in their vehicles."
"We are re-envisioning the future in-vehicle customer experience, and this is just the first step. The integration of select Google technology and services into our vehicle infotainment systems will foster a more connected and efficient driving experience," Santiago Chamorro, GM's VP of global connected customer experience, said in a statement.
GM is not ready to promise a full-blown connected experience similar to that of Google Home or Amazon Alexa, but emphasized that the system will evolve over time. From day one, drivers will be able to use the Assistant to make calls or text a friend, play a favorite radio station or podcast, close the garage door (when connected to compatible smart phone devices) or even change the temperature in the vehicle.
Google Maps navigation and connected information will be native to the new system, meaning a smartphone will not be required to take advantage of those features. Owners will also be able to customize their experience with additional car-enabled apps from the Google Play Store. The full extent of the system's capabilities will be revealed closer to its launch.
This may seem like bad news for Apple users, but Apple CarPlay remains part of the company's in-car technology road map for the foreseeable future.
"We know choice is important to customers, so we will continue to offer projection (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) capabilities in the vehicle," a GM spokeswoman told Motor Authority.