GM Wants You To Update Your Facebook Status While You Drive

Because there is nothing more important for GM to improve with their vehicles, the car company has begun testing a functionality that would allow Facebook-addicted drivers to tell everyone “I can’t believe Prince Poppycock made it through to the finals on America’s Got Talent!!!” without having to take their hands off the steering wheel.

The program would work through GM’s existing OnStar network and would allow people to not only verbally update their Facebook friends on the minutiae of their day, but also listen to their friends’ status updates.

In addition to Facebook updates, GM is testing a program that would read your text messages aloud and give drivers the ability to respond with one of four preset replies using buttons placed on the steering wheel.

No time frame was given on when GM might get around to actually making either of these functionalities available.

Is this something you would want? More importantly, do you think this will be more or less of a distraction for drivers?

GM testing audio Facebook updates in cars [ChicagoBreakingBusiness.com]

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  1. lhfan04 says:

    thanks but I thought the car was supposed to be for…uh… driving????

    • DariusC says:

      If you are intrigued, you are wrong.

    • caradrake says:

      You’re so silly! Everyone knows that driving is for applying makeup, shaving, reading the newspaper, and texting your friends. And that you get bonus points if you do all of those at once.

    • Difdi says:

      You’re not seeing the bigger picture! If people use a car just for driving, GM will sell one every few years to them. But if they use the car for Facebook, GM gets to sell them a new car every month!

    • The Marionette says:

      can’t afford the car? =

  2. rookie says:

    When driving, drive.
    When eating, eat.
    When mowing, mow.
    When facebooking, book.

  3. mussorgsky112 says:

    Anyone still mad that we bailed out companies like this? “Why aren’t people driving our crappy cars? Should we make them better? Hell no! Let’s just do dumb stuff like this and advertise to the morons who are addicted to Facebook!”

    • oldwiz65 says:

      I test drove a Chevrolet Malibu last November, and the instrument panel was so complicated that even the salesman riding with me couldn’t figure out how to make something work. The car wallowed around turns, rocked like crazy on bumps, and was definitely not enjoyable to drive. On top of all that when I got back to the dealer at 4:00 pm they offered me a deal but said it was only good for today. Guess what vehicle I did not buy? My brother had Onstar on a Buick last year and he hated Onstar with a passion.

    • anduin says:

      Though not an American, I’m mad at the US politicians for saving their asses. I thought capitalism was a winning system. Chevy’s aren’t too bad but GM and Chrysler are the bottom of the shit bucket of American made cars.

    • katarzyna says:

      Oh hai, I’m still living in 1980! GM cars are now better than Toyotas. Get current.

  4. Mewf says:

    This just makes me sad.

  5. Zeniq says:

    I’d be interested to see how they do with the text message reading thing. Ford’s Sync system already has this, but it doesn’t work for most people because only a handful of handsets are supported, I think most of them are crappy Motorolas. Most higher end phones, iPhone included (all models, even the iPhone 4) do NOT work with it because they do not support the SMS exchange protocol that Sync uses. Sadly, there is no standard that is implemented across all platforms.

    I wonder if GM will fare better in their device support, and how they will do it – use multiple protocols?

    • Zeniq says:

      As an additional tack-on: Sync’s would be cooler than GM’s when it works because you can reply using words and say exactly what you want to, rather than choosing from a measly 4 preset options.

      • jessjj347 says:

        Yeah, I’m most intrigued by the tech involved in natural language processing.

        Don’t know why there’s so many haters on this board. Even if this isn’t the best implementation of such a tech, I want to see what others will do similarly.

        • Woofer says:

          It’s because there are better things to do while driving. Like driving. And paying attention to the road.

          • Gulliver says:

            yes, like putting on make up, reading the newspaper, adjusting the ac, turning up the radio, and talking on your phone.

  6. Maglet says:

    This isn’t something I’d want. OnStar is cool for directions and local information when traveling… stuff like that. But Facebook in my truck? Why?

    Yes, I do think it’d be distracting. But no more than talking through bluetooth in your car. *shrugs*

  7. aloria says:

    Reminds me of the bash.org IRC quotes where something in the person’s room is on fire or the person cuts a fingertip off or something and their reaction is to tell everyone in the channel about it instead of, you know, tending to the emergency.

    “Aloria is crashing into the median on I-95!! Should have slowed down in this snow!”

    • DigTheFunk says:

      Haha. I’m waiting to see what happens when someone is going to post and crashes mid-post. “Driving along, scenic drive, very fucuclakaljsa1!!………………………….”

  8. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Perhaps they should perfect automated driving before they work on devices that reap the benefits of automated driving, hmmm?

    • jessjj347 says:

      I think that all of the sensors involved in that project in the U.S. were too expensive to implement and they couldn’t manage the cars going too fast.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        It’s still a developing technology. There are a few races held each year where teams develop and/or utilize technology to make a car go through an urban obstacle course.

        The biggest hurdles seems to be getting a computer to accurately interpret what it seems via a camera and know how to act/react.

  9. IphtashuFitz says:

    Is onStar still standard in all GM cars? This is one reason I didn’t even bother looking at GM’s when I was last in the market for a new car. I don’t want to pay for a feature that I wouldn’t use. Yes, I know it’s a subscription service I don’t have to pay for if I don’t want, but just having it installed in the car jacks up the overall price of the entire vehicle.

    • Zeniq says:

      How much does OnStar even cost? I can’t imagine it would be a super-pricy option, especially given the cost of buying a new car in the first place. I mean, even if it’s 1000$, that’s not that much if you finance for 36 months. Less than 30$ per month difference, pre-interest.

      Of course, if you don’t want it, you don’t freaking want it, so I can see that it could be annoying if there is no option not to get it. On the other hand, sometimes technology just becomes popular to the point of ubiquity. Kinda like radios in cars, then tape players, then CD players. You don’t really get the option not to have those things any more.

      • Maglet says:

        It’s $30 bucks or so a month. Or you can pay for a whole year for about $100 and change. Not bad if used frequently, in my opinion.

        • Maglet says:

          Typo: meant *$200 a year.

        • Zeniq says:

          I meant more of the cost of the option when purchasing the car, kinda like how leather seats or higher-end trim adds to the price of the car.

          • Maglet says:

            I don’t really know, but I think it was worth it. I drive a lot and use it more often than not, so it’s more useful to me than a steel gas cap. My sunroof is nice, but I could have done without it.

      • AnonymousCoward says:

        $30 a month, every month for 3 years. For something I never asked for and don’t want.

        I think I’ll stick with my Mazda. Thanks. At least for $1000 I could get something useful, like a sunroof, or a stainless steel gas cap or something.

      • TheGreySpectre says:

        $1000 is still extra money that you are paying regardless of how you pay for it. In fact if you are financing it then it is more then $1000 due to interest. May you can’t, but I can think of lots of things 2 spend $1000 on that I actually will use.

  10. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    And here I thought a ridiculous “innovation” was the Ford Fusion Hybrid’s “leaf meter” – of all things, that is why they decided to use a LCD display?

  11. Dyscord says:

    So, they’re doing things that Ford’s Sync has been able to do for a while now…at least in regard to reading text messages and such.

  12. iParadox{InLove} says:

    Woot! I love Price Poppycock! *heart* *heart* *heart*

    • Conformist138 says:

      Ditto. He’s the man of my dreams (unfortunately for me, there’s no such thing as the girl of his dreams).

  13. sheldonmoon69 says:

    GM needs to make cars that don’t require thousands of dollars in repairs within the first decade of ownership before frills like this.

    They should never have been bailed out in the first place.

    • oldwiz65 says:

      first decade? Don’t you mean first 5 years? I thought they self-destructed when you hit 7years so you;d buy a new car.

  14. Battlehork says:

    Status: driving

    Status: upside down in a ditch

  15. nbs2 says:

    You take away my cell phone and let this keep going? Really? Really?

  16. TheGreySpectre says:

    One innovation I don’t see anyone doing but would actually like is for the entire dashboard to be an LCD so it can do things like display the radio information, easily change from imperial to metric, display the time, and integrate google maps all without actually shifting where I am looking. But no, instead we get the ability to update facebook from the car. I hate you car companies.

    • jessjj347 says:

      I don’t like that idea because I think it would create too much visual distraction for the driver.

      • TheGreySpectre says:

        I can see the map possibly being distracting, but the time and radio information is stuff that drivers already look at…only when they look at it on the their radio they have to take their eyes off the road, instead of being able to look at it in their periphery. Also, because it would be software controlled it would be possible to control which modules you want displayed, so if I want a map and you don’t, you can just turn off the map module.

        Also, the check engine light could change to something way more specific.

      • webweazel says:

        What about “heads up displays”? (I think that’s what they were called.) Years back they had cars that would display the speed reflected off the bottom of the windshield. You didn’t have to take your eyes off the road, and could kind of read it in your periphery vision. Whatever happened to those? A small digital projector on the dash shining on the windshield could be used to do all the things Spectre described without losing too much sight of the road. Especially for GPS directions. That would be a HUGE help, I bet.

    • aloria says:

      That’s an awesome idea– turn the dash into a huge touchscreen with large buttons so you can easily change the radio station, adjust climate control, pull up GPS, make a call on your cell (via bluetooth,) and so on. As it stands now, in most cars you have to pull out the manual just to change the clock for DST.

    • Alternate says:

      Yeah, I can see that not costing a lot in repairs for the company when it offers a 5 year warranty on the car. Ever spill coffee anywhere in your car?

      Maybe in a top-of-the-line Cadillac they could do that, with the touchscreen really being a glass touch surface like the iPhone/iPad, but that would still be quite expensive to design and install in the first place (and then the replacements!)

      I remember The Onion once had a mock article about Ford unveiling their latest car, the 1995 Taurus. Perfect for people who need a car that drives, and not a lot of other shit. Cars need to start being more like the Taurus.

  17. Rocket says:

    Rocket dislikes this.

  18. jessjj347 says:

    Sounds like a good start to an idea.

  19. Silverhawk says:

    Do I think this is a good idea? No.

    Here’s what I think is a good idea for Onstar…make it cheaper. For the current offering, it simply costs too much. I don’t know of anyone with a GM vehicle that renews after the initial demo. I just let it run out on my new car. I have a cellphone that pairs via bluetooth so I can make handsfree calls, and I’m fine with that.

    • Southern says:

      Not only that, but the “safety” portion of Onstar should be free for everyone, forever.

      I.E., if I get in a wreck, Onstar is supposed to notify the police (in case I’m incapacitated and cannot). Yet unless you pay them for the privilege, you could sit there and just die because your OnStar membership expired 3 days ago.

      Charge for the other features, sure – driving directions, hands free calling, (Door) unlock assistance, remote diagnostics, etc.. but a safety feature like Crash Assistance should be free.

  20. central_ny_dude says:

    I look at it this way:
    I know I can’t text and drive safely, so I don’t. But plenty of people think they can, and will do it anyway. I’m driving on the same roads as those people. If this text to speech makes it easier and safer for those people to text, while driving anywhere near me, go for it. Making it illegal to talk without a handsfree in NY didn’t really change that many people. This technology is just going to make it safer (hopefully) for people to do, what they were already doing to begin with.

    • nybiker says:

      As Rookie said at 3:18pm on 9/9, when you are driving, drive. It’s not so much the talking in and of itself that’s the problem, it’s that your mind is not on the main task at hand and that is driving and paying attention to what’s out there in front and all around you. Talking to the Facebook app means you’re focusing on updating your fb status.
      Driving looks easy after you’ve been doing it for years, but think back to the first day you drove (whether or not you were of legal age to do so). After a while you get comfortable with all the stuff happening around you and as long as everything goes the way it’s supposed to (like the car in front of you keeps moving and its driver doesn’t suddenly stop while you’re updating your fb page) then all is good. But if the driver stops suddenly and you are not paying attention, well, front bumper meet rear bumper.

      A driver might say to this that well, all I am doing is talking but I am still looking out the front window. I am paying attention. Actually, your brain is multitasking and if you are trying to put together a sentence or two, that might be enough extra work that you just might not notice the kid running out into the street to get his ball. Or the pedestrian starting to cross the street at the corner against the light (yeah, you think you have the right of way, but you don’t and the pedestrian loses).

      Hey, let’s be careful out there.

  21. Disappointed says:

    This reminds me of that episode of “The Simpsons” where Homer’s long-lost brother gives him free rein to design his own car.

    Anyway, no, I have no interest whatsoever in such a service. Some days, I’m too busy to log onto Facebook and kill a few minutes. And, you know, that’s just fine with me.

  22. quijote says:

    I guess the idea is to have driver safety innovations keep pace with driver distracting innovations. I’m picturing streets full of cars whose onboard computers are working hard to keep the car from smashing into things, fluffy pillows deploying to save the lives of “drivers” who are are all the while oblivious as they text some inane garbage.

  23. Mr.Grieves says:

    I’m getting so annoyed with all these companies that think I want bloody facebook integration 24/7. I don’t! And if it interferes with the speed of whatever I’m using then I get really PO’d.

  24. j_rose says:

    My Ford has Sync and I can receive texts, and send canned texts. I however, do not use texting. :)

  25. Levk says:

    yes yes add features only a few people will use and hopefully when someone gets into an accident they can sue em would be nice :)

  26. deadbird says:

    OMG! We are just now realizing how bad it is 2 text & drive (why this came as such a surprise I’ll never know) and now this crap! Just wait till you get to your destination! Is any stupid thing you or your friends have to say important enough to endanger peoples lives?! This is the reason I have ulcers.

  27. tomz17 says:

    BMW i-drive already does this for text/e-mail smartphone integration.

    Terrible idea, IMHO.

  28. aaron8301 says:

    As has been said, Ford has been doing this for two years now, thanks to MS Sync.