Ford steering Google Maps into its cars

Carmaker is adding Google Maps to its Sync-equipped vehicles, which will let drivers download directions to their cars from PCs or mobile phones.

Ford owners with Sync-equipped vehicles will be able tap into Google Maps to download directions to their cars before month's end.

Ford Sync
Ford Sync Microsoft

The free Send to Sync feature, announced Tuesday by Ford, will let drivers send Google Maps data from their Bluetooth-enabled computers or mobile phones to their in-car Sync systems. The electronic directions are downloaded directly into Sync and converted into audible turn-by-turn steps. The route is then calculated on the spot using the latest traffic information.

Ford is touting the service as a way for drivers to keep their eyes on the road by eliminating the need to juggle maps and printouts.

"Printing paper directions from a Web site is a relic in our digital age," Doug VanDagens, director of Ford Connected Services Solutions Organization, said in a statement. "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."

Launched in 2007, Ford Sync provides car owners with a variety of voice-activated, cloud-based services, including directions, traffic reports, news, weather, movie listings, and search capabilities. Drivers can also connect cell phones, MP3 players, and other Bluetooth-enabled gadgets to communicate and transfer data with their in-car systems. Sync is powered by Microsoft software.

Send to Sync will be available for existing 2010 and 2011 Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles outfitted with Sync. No extra hardware, software updates, or additional fees will be required, according to the company. Ford said it is the only automaker to offer this feature without the need for a paid subscription.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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