General Motors may be poised to update its aging OnStar in-car service by offering Facebook integration, according to Bloomberg and the Detroit Free Press. It’s believed that this is GM’s effort to mirror the success that Ford has had marketing its Sync feature.
Sync already offers many of the same features as OnStar, such as 911 assistance, vehicle diagnostics and turn-by-turn directions, but there isn’t any sort of social network integrations like GM is reportedly working on.
Expanding the OnStar capabilities with Facebook integration will initially only amount to status updates and messages being read to you while you drive. There are already several third party vendors that offer similar types of features, but Ford has had success packaging these capabilities as a factory service in newer models with Sync.
There are also other possibilities that the reports don’t mention, but that sound intriguing, such as integrating Facebook Places. You can imagine checking in via the system at a drive-thru, or while sightseeing on a family vacation, then sharing that information back to Facebook with family and friends.
OnStar is offered free on many GM vehicles for one year with the option to continue the service on several different tiers. GM has had the most success marketing the service for its benefits in case of an accident or emergency, but there are other features currently built into the service. Owners can get simple diagnostics about their vehicle, such as the next scheduled oil change or service, as well as use the OnStar operators as a sort of live GPS system or simple search engine. Adding Facebook elements certainly updates the OnStar service, but it’s yet to be determined whether or not this is even a service that consumers want.