General Motors Testing Facebook And Audio Texting With OnStar

General Motors has been pushing OnStar in their vehicles for what feels like forever. At this point, OnStar and GM just go hand-in-hand. We've come to expect it in new GM vehicles. But the technology hasn't really evolved a whole lot over the years, at least to technology driven consumers. But the world has moved on, and the world now lives on Facebook and Twitter.

And so, Facebook is coming to OnStar. Yes, really! General Motors has announced a "relaunch" of OnStar, with the brand and focus now pointing to "responsible connectivity." Apparently that also involves adding Facebook audio updates, so users can hear the status updates of their friends without having to take their eyes off of the road and fiddle with their Facebook app. As of today, this in-car social media angle is "being tested," but we find it hard to believe that they would tease the world without planning to implement it.

And then there's voice texting. OnStar is beta testing the functionality, which would allow drivers to send voice-based texts so long as their phone had Bluetooth, which would again enable drivers to focus more on the highway and less on their phone.

Better technology, and safer roads? Win-win!

OnStar Relaunches Its Brand with Focus on “Responsible Connectivity”

    * New telematics computing platform includes social media/voice-texting capability and potential for open development
    * New  OnStar MyLink sub-brand for smart phone applications for Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC
    * Ninth-generation hardware improves navigation and user features
    * New services extend OnStar’s safety leadership
    * All new marketing campaign and business strategy

New York - OnStar is launching new services, capabilities and technology for its nearly 6 million subscribers as part of a top-to-bottom realignment of the company’s long-term strategy built around ‘responsible connectivity.’

OnStar plans to pilot major innovations that significantly increase drivers’ in-car connection to the world, while extending its safety leadership in the automotive industry.

“These initiatives are all about OnStar’s role in keeping drivers and passengers connected and safe,” said OnStar President Chris Preuss.  “Building on the rock-solid foundation of OnStar’s safety and security platform, we were given a clear directive to develop OnStar as one of the chief pillars in defining General Motors’ business going forward.”

 “With the extremely high awareness and respect for the OnStar brand, we’ve created a long-term vision that includes new in-vehicle hardware, an all-new IT infrastructure and a host of new partnerships and services that provide the basis for growth,” Preuss continued.

Simultaneous events were held in New York, Austin, San Francisco and Miami to relaunch the OnStar brand.

New Technology Testing

OnStar subscribers and technology insiders got a first look at OnStar’s new technologies that are enabled through the ninth generation hardware:   

    * Audio Facebook Updates:  OnStar showcased in-car social media interactions that are being tested.  If implemented, Audio Facebook Updates would allow OnStar subscribers to verbally update their Facebook status message through audio recordings and/or listen to their most recent news feed messages through the OnStar Virtual Advisor service.
    * Voice Texting:  OnStar revealed beta tests for voice-based SMS (short message service).  This feature would enable customers to have their text messages read to them using Bluetooth.

The Bluetooth technology allows users to connect their mobile device to their vehicle and receive automated text messages. With one button press, on the steering wheel, users can reply to a text by verbally selecting a preset response.