For social media’s most ardent adherents, there’s no such thing as oversharing. We’re not convinced that anyone cares that you just liked Frank Bacon on Facebook, tweeted some mundane thought that twitched through your brain, Instagrammed moody snapshots of your surroundings or checked in on Four Square at a hipster watering hole where you can barely afford to buy a beer.
Most car buyers aren’t exactly clamoring for social media in the dashboard either, according to the latest research. But that isn’t stopping car companies from participating in a social media arms race to add such sharing capabilities to cars. Mercedes-Benz’s new mbrace2 telematics system that launched last month in the 2013 SL550 includes Facebook status updates. And the automaker recently announced that it’s adding Glympse, “the temporary real-time location sharing” service, to the Digital DriveStyle app that will be included in the new compact A-Class when the car becomes available in Europe in September and hits these shores later.
Digital DriveStyle works in conjunction with an optional Drive Kit Plus to tether an iPhone to the baby Benz and other models. It siphons Facebook. Twitter and other connected content such as navigation and internet radio from the phone, as well as the Digital DriveStyle gatekeeper app, are controlled through the vehicle’s Comand infotainment system.
Mercedes’ original mbrace system already has a feature called Send2Friends that allows vehicle owners to flick text messages to Facebook friends. As peers respond, their location shows up on the navigation system’s map screen. The Glympse integration with DriveStyle works opposite of this by letting drivers send their location via a text message or email to a contact for a set period of time (5 minutes to 4 hours).
When recipients get your Glympse, they tap or click on the link to display the sender’s location and message, and view a dynamic, moving map of your location and updates on your whereabouts in real time. Using Mercedes’ DriveStyle app, drivers could send a Glympse when stuck in traffic and running late, and the waiting party would be able to see where they are and their progress. So much for that old excuse.
“You can basically authorize who is seeing your location,” Steffen Neumann, project manager for Mercedes-Benz told Wired. “Instead of passing out your location to everybody all the time, you can configure who you share your location with and for how long.” Of course, Glympse also allows drivers to share their location on Facebook and Twitter if they want to share with the world where they are in their Benz.