Facebook Coming to ... Your Car?

Mercedes installs new system, swears it's safe

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 10, 2012 12:29 PM CST

(Newser) – Facebook has found its way inside what could be its most unlikely device yet: a car. Mercedes-Benz will soon be installing Facebook in its new cars, with a specially-designed, bare-bones version that, it hopes, minimizes the chance of someone crashing off the road while using it. The app, which was designed by Mercedes and will be announced at CES this week, focuses on a limited range of location-centric tasks—it will, for example, alert you to any friends who are nearby, or any businesses you've "liked."

But to minimize distraction, the app won't let drivers type anything in when the car is moving, instead giving them a handful of pre-loaded status update options that can be quickly posted to Facebook by turning or tapping a knob. If you've punched in an address on your GPS, for example, you can tell your friends where you're going, and the app will calculate your ETA and post that, too. And Facebook thinks this is the tip of the iceberg. "Now that cars have screens that are intelligent, you would expect that more and more car manufacturers" will add social capabilities, a Facebook VP tells Reuters. The Mercedes system will also feature Google and Yelp apps, and will eventually be a standard feature on all its cars.

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL, foreground, is shown on the floor of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, Jan. 9, 2012.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL, foreground, is shown on the floor of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, Jan. 9, 2012.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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