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Analyst: Consumers Don't Want Facebook In Their Cars

By Blake Z. Rong | June 07, 2012
Hashtag this as "#nope." Car companies and self-styled "social media rockstars" may tell us that we definitely want to stay connected in our Suburbans so we can livetweet our dangerous expedition to Safeway for a pack of Dorito's JACKED Enchilada Supreme chips, but consumers aren't buying the hype. Nope, it turns out consumers want Internet-connected apps in their car that actually relate to driving—you know, pertinent stuff like traffic and weather reports, places to park, and what's causing that delay in front of them (pile-up, hazardous material spill, etc.). Logging onto Facebook to like your friend's cliched rant about why he hates Justin Bieber ranks among the lowest priority for drivers. "This is again reminding you that you have to be careful not to confuse the car with your mobile phone or your laptop," said Thilo Koslowski, an analyst for technology consulting firm Gartner. "The car is very different in terms of what it has to provide." This will be awkward for carmakers like Mercedes-Benz, which is debuting something called mbrace2,  a system for drivers to post statuses to their Facebook wall via voice commands. GM, too, which is obsessed with marketing to kids these days, still allows drivers to do much the same thing through OnStar, and even listen to your friend's news feeds, which will surely make for great road trip entertainment—say, driving to the Grand Canyon, and then off it. The reason these carmakers say they want us to stay connected to Facebook is for us to alleviate our commutes with Internet-connected infotainment systems. And it's not an invalid line of reasoning: 82 percent of new car buyers want Internet radio and other apps for their cars, up from 20 percent last year. In China, a market that shares much of the same traits (and problems) as ours, a whopping 99 percent want it. That doesn't mean they want Twitter or Facebook, per se, but they want to stay connected to entertainment and information sources. Can you really call your friend's Facebook posts "entertaining," or "informative?" For the amount of time we're stuck on social media, it's nice to know that there's a few moments in our lives where we can go "off the grid," even if it is during the hundred hours per year spent commuting. Source: Detroit Free Press
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