At restaurants, at movies and at the office, checking Facebook has become a regular habit for many of the Internet social network's more than 800 million users. Now that habit has reached a new frontier: the automobile.
By Alexei Oreskovic From Reuters
Mercedes-Benz USA is bringing Facebook to its cars, with a special version of the service that is built-in to a new in-vehicle telematics system that will be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.
First of all, any text functions will be disabled unless the car is motionless. Drivers can post to their Facebook walls via the car interface about where they are, where they're going and how long it'll take for them to get there, but these will all be preset messages that trigger with a button push or a knob turn. If your friends 'Liked' the Facebook page of a restaurant, the car could tell you how far away it is from you, and direct you to drive over. It could also tell you where your friends are.
Facebook games, however, are strictly off the table. But by enabling Facebook in their vehicles, Mercedes-Benz has opened a technological door. If you can plug into the internet from a screen, Facebook won't be far behind, and according to Dan Rose, the Facebook Vice President of Partnerships, that's precisely what they're after: "Now that cars have screens that are intelligent, you would expect that more and more car manufacturers will want to make those screens capable of allowing people to connect with their friends and take advantage of the social context that comes along with that."
And it's not just the cars getting all the action. Also revealed today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is that Panasonic got Justin Timberlake to announce its partnership with MySpace for MySpace TV, which is exactly what it sounds like, social networking via television.
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