Does Google rule the internet? There's a strong case for that argument, but Google also has a strong presence in the automotive community. That presence will grow in Ford's universe, as the two companies have formed a "unique strategic partnership" that will help the Blue Oval expand its digital footprint in the realm of connected motoring.
“As Ford continues the most profound transformation in our history with electrification, connectivity, and self-driving, Google and Ford coming together establishes an innovation powerhouse truly able to deliver a superior experience for our customers and modernize our business,” said Ford CEO Jim Farley in a press release on the announcement.
What exactly does this mean? Among other things, this six-year partnership will help Ford modernize itself in the digital world both for customers and in how the company does business. Utilizing Google Cloud, the automaker seeks to improve its data management for the betterment of everything from supply chain functionality to customer service. In this instance, customer service could refer to anything from real-time notices to vehicle owners about repairs, to targeted marketing such as trade-in alerts. Here's hoping there aren't plans to broadcast creepy notices to drivers using billboards like BMW mentioned earlier.
That's the backside of this plan, but what will customers really see? Android will be the system-of-choice for all Ford and Lincoln vehicles at all price points, starting in 2023. With that comes various Google apps and services built into vehicles, such as Google Maps for navigation, Google Play for all your music and entertainment needs, and Google Assistant for voice control of various systems. The partnership will also bring special apps and/or services exclusive to Ford vehicle owners.
Though not expressly communicated, it's likely the partnership will benefit Ford when it comes to automated driving systems. The announcement specifically mentions Google's expertise in numerous areas including artificial intelligence and machine learning, and we know Google is deep into the self-driving realm with Waymo.
“We are obsessed with creating must-have, distinctively Ford products and services,” said Farley. “This integration will unleash our teams to innovate for Ford and Lincoln customers while seamlessly providing access to Google’s world-class apps and services.”