Google makes money off ads and Google wants to infiltrate your car. You know where this is going, and now there's an SEC filing to prove it.
In a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission last December, Google attempted to justify why it shouldn't have to disclose revenue coming from mobile devices. In short, it's because the definition of "mobile" is constantly evolving. It's not just tablets and smartphones, but a host of new and unreleased technologies that are slowly creeping into our lives.
To that end, Google's filing states:
Our expectation is that users will be using our services and viewing our ads on an increasingly wide diversity of devices in the future, and thus our advertising systems are becoming increasingly device-agnostic.
More specifically, Google says that, "a few years from now, we and other companies could be serving ads and other content on refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities."
While a pop-up ad on your thermostat seems idiotic, a location-aware restaurant recommendation based on your Zagat profile (which Google owns) makes some sense.
A few navigation apps already offer this location-targeted marking, including Magellan's SmartGPS, which even integrates with Foursquare to list deals nearby. Aha Radio, an app that connects to vehicles from Acura, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Porsche, and Subaru, offers you coupons through your in-dash screen, and when you give a Chipotle ad a "thumbs up" it emails you a coupon for a sub-par burrito.
Google's auto push isn't just about autonomous cars, but moving beyond the smartphone and tablet space with the Open Automotive Alliance. The OAA is a global partnership of automakers and suppliers, including Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai, and the chipmakers at NVIDIA that aims to bring Google's Android operating system into vehicles. By getting a standard in place, the OAA hopes to reduce the massive fragmentation between automaker infotainment systems to spur everything from app development to new user interface designs. And naturally, advertising is going to come along for the ride.
Depending on your perspective, it's either terrific or terrifying. Giving drivers a clear way to opt out has to be part of the plan, but then again, if Starbucks or Shell is willing to foot the bill for your in-car data plan, it might be worth it to some.