CES 2014: Apple, Google wanna pimp your ride

January 07, 2014 9:48 AM EST

Regular readers will know I've told you what's coming when it comes to connected devices and the chance to put smarts inside your ride, but this year will be the year Apple and Google try to put their digital keys in your lock.

CES 2014: Apple, Google wanna pimp your ride

Smart machines

Both firms want to pimp your ride.

The essence is fairly simple. The intention is that you should be able to access all your apps, music, maps and communication solutions when you're sat at the wheel, hands-free. That's the essence, but the true intention goes way beyond that, feeding into a vision of smart cities and intelligent vehicles that could come direct from a futuristic thriller, starring some bloke in a vest.

Your cars will know where you are, will speak to public transportation systems to figure out where the traffic bottlenecks are, will locate parking, and suss out things like fuel consumption, mileage, journey times. You'll be guided to your destination by mapping services who will already have reached deals with the mega-corporations that ensure your chosen route goes past at least one of their storefronts.

When you get out of the car, you'll be identified by Location and -- as plans for the digital wallet unfold -- you'll be tracked for where you go, what you do and what you buy. In the name of convenience you'll find yourself teased by offers and other inducements based on the things you've liked before.

Give me convenience

You'll be the product. The technology will exist not to take you from A to B, but to ensure that the route you choose exposes you to the maximum opportunity to purchase goods and services you probably didn't know you needed from corporations willing to stump up silly money to the various ads services that twin location data with 'anonymized' information about you.

There's huge benefits: better transportation, improvements in public safety and -- best of all for those in authority who think they should have 24/7 access to your data -- an excuse for public transport authorities to access to your information so they can automatically issue speeding tickets. (You had to be driving at XXX speed to make it between A and B in xyz minutes: so you'll get a fine. No one law-abiding ever speeds, after all).

Google, Apple and presumably Microsoft all want a part of this hot new action. This is big money: you'll pay for the service with your car, you'll pay fees for the always on connectivity, you'll pay for the apps you use, you'll pay for the things you (or your children) end up being politely pestered to purchase, and you'll pay for road usage, speeding tickets and more.

The driving seat

There's risks: malware designed to take control of certain car models; spyware; the civil liberties implications of the NSA quietly taking that data in the absence of government mandate on the tenuous basis that access to this information somehow provides a magic talisman against "terrorism". Risks, right?

You get to decide how you want to drive your future. You'll be presented with a dizzying array of choice: Apple's iOS in Car solutions will be faced with competition from Google's Open Automotive Alliance. You choose between the relative security offered by Apple's platforms and the "security" you already enjoy with Android.

You'll be in the driving seat until cars get smarter than we are (which won't take long).

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