Send To SYNC Blends Google Maps With Ford Navigation

This is the piece that we have been waiting for: true Google Maps integration with vehicles. We thought it would take quite a bit longer than this for it to finally happen, but somehow Ford has enabled it to work using their existing SYNC Traffic, Directions & Information (TDI) app. The reason this is exciting is twofold; one, factory navigation systems are usually not as fantastic as a Google Maps system, and two, it's a lot easier to pull up directions in Google Maps than to plug something in a vehicle. By allowing Google Maps to be sent to a factory navigation system, it's like installing a piece of Google right into a system you already own.

Ford has been continually improving their SYNC services for months now, but this is probably our most favorite. The process sounds pretty simple: drivers download destination information into the vehicle via their Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones; the information will be processed into audible turn-by-turn directions, eliminating the need to bring printed maps into the car and helping drivers keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. The "Send to SYNC" feature is expected to launch later this month and will available for existing 2010-11 models equipped with SYNC TDI. The best news, perhaps, is that no extra hardware or software is required, and it's a free update.

Once the directions are sent from your phone, the optimal route is calculated in the cloud using the latest traffic information, downloaded to the vehicle and navigation guidance begins. If the vehicle is equipped with a map-based navigation system, the destination point is downloaded directly to that system, which then calculates the route based on the in-vehicle navigation preferences set by the driver. Ford is pretty proud of being the only automaker to offer this type of service right now, and considering just how well respected Google Maps are, we don't really blame them. But on the other hand, we can't wait for other companies to follow suit.

Drivers who enjoy the convenience of Ford SYNC® with Traffic, Directions & Information (TDI) soon will be able to select a destination on Google Maps and send it to their Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicles.

'Send to SYNC' is a new capability added to the Ford Service Delivery Network, the company's cloud-based architecture, which provides a suite of voice-activated services accessible through a customer's mobile phone.

"Printing paper directions from a website is a relic in our digital age," said Doug VanDagens, director of Ford Connected Services Solutions Organization. "With Send to SYNC, you can map a destination at home, at work – wherever you have connectivity – and when you get to your car, it already knows where you want to go. It's convenient and it eliminates the waste and distraction of paper maps, conserving resources while helping drivers keep their eyes on the road."

The SYNC TDI application leverages a customer's mobile phone voice plan and the vehicle's integrated GPS receiver to deliver location-based services, such as driving directions or business searches, and on-demand information such as horoscopes, news, movie listings and stock quotes. Since these services, including the new Send to SYNC functionality, are cloud-based, no vehicle updates are required and they will be available to all owners who have registered for TDI services through