BMW has announced that its BMW Connected service, allowing BMW owners to interact with their car from an app on their iOS or Android smartphone, will soon offer integration with Google Assistant. The service will be rolled out in the USA in December 2017.
Google Assistant is Google’s attempt at getting on the Siri/Alexa/Cortana virtual personal assistant bandwagon, letting you ask speakers, smartphones and other inanimate objects to tell you things or do occasionally useful stuff. According to BMW, that occasionally useful stuff will now include interacting with your vehicle through the BMW Connected app.
Apparently, saying “Ok Google, ask BMW…” within listening distance of your Google Home speaker (or an iPhone, or an Android Wear smartwatch, or an Nvidia Shield, or any of the other devices that support Google Assistant) will be enough to call your BMW to attention. You can then proceed to ask the big questions in life, like “when is my next appointment?”, “what is my remaining range?” and “is my vehicle locked?”.
Admittedly, not all of these questions really need BMW Connected to step in, because if you’re a Google Assistant user, you’ll probably have your appointments saved in your Google Calendar. And BMW didn’t mention whether Google Assistant could actually do anything about it if your car wasn’t locked. You’d have to assume that it’ll be able to use the BMW Connected remote locking feature, though, considering Alexa can do it.
Perhaps the most useful feature is the ability to feed destinations to your BMW’s navigation system. Unless you’re using Waze or Google Maps, you’re reliant on the iDrive’s built-in navigation system. And as anybody who actually uses it can testify, trying to enter the address with the iDrive control know almost certainly isn’t going to be worth the hassle.
The BMW Connected app for iOS and Android lets you find the destination on your smartphone before pushing it to your iDrive, which definitely makes things a little easier, but Google Assistant integration can make the whole process flow much smoother. Ask Google Assistant for some local seafood restaurants (or whatever it is people ask Google Assistant for), then ask for the address to be pushed to your BMW’s navigation system.
It really is the closest thing to having a personal concierge without having to actually involve genuine human interaction in the equation. What could be better?