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Google’s 25th Anniversary: Impact on Modern Cars and Driving Experiences

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On September 27, 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin initiated a research project known initially as ‘Backrub,’ which later evolved into the global tech giant we now recognize as Google. Celebrating its 25th birthday, we reflect on how this influential technology company has transformed travel and the automotive industry.

Google Maps: A Portable World Atlas:
In 2005, Google introduced ‘Google Maps,’ a revolutionary tool now utilized by over 1 billion people worldwide each month. The introduction of mobile application access in 2008, along with turn-by-turn navigation in 2009, marked significant milestones. Real-time traffic updates further enhanced its utility, particularly for Android users. Over time, Google Maps evolved, incorporating features like fuel-saving recommendations and ‘Immersive View’ for a 3D cityscape experience, even revealing parking options.

Notably, Google Maps played a pivotal role in the rise of ride-sharing platforms like Uber, reshaping intra-city transportation.

Android Auto: Stay Connected On the Go:
As smartphones gained prominence, Google responded with ‘Android Auto,’ a specialized app designed to facilitate connectivity while driving. This mobile software mirrors Android device functionalities onto a car’s touchscreen system. It grants access to apps, messages, notifications, music, and navigation through the car’s display, ensuring a safer and more intuitive driving experience. Hyundai was the first to implement Android Auto in its 2015 Sonata model.

Introduced in India in 2016, Mahindra led the way in incorporating Android Auto into its vehicles. The app has since seen periodic updates, introducing features like split-screen functionality, digital car keys (initially with BMW), and WhatsApp calls through Android Auto.

Google-Based Infotainment Systems: Android Automotive:
Beyond mirroring smartphones, Google developed ‘Android Automotive,’ an OS tailored for in-car infotainment systems. This system seamlessly integrates Google services like Maps and Assistant directly into the vehicle’s interface, eliminating the need to connect a smartphone. Users can access additional Google apps through the integrated Play Store.

Car manufacturers like Volvo, Renault, and Honda have already adopted Android Automotive in their global offerings, with Ford and Nissan set to follow suit.

From a basic search engine to a comprehensive technological ecosystem, Google’s journey has been remarkable. Its impact on daily life, especially in the realm of transportation, is evident through services like Google Maps, Android Auto, and Android Automotive. As we anticipate future updates, we’d love to hear which of these features you find most valuable in your day-to-day experiences. Share your thoughts in the comments!