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SATNAV COMPANY Tomtom is adding a slew of features including social networking to its latest range of satnav devices, extending the reach of social networks to cars.
The features, dubbed Search & Go LIVE Services, will let users make use of several important travel web sites, such as Expedia, Tripadvisor and Yelp, along with search engines like Google and social networking like Twitter, the first time such services have been designed specifically for satnav users, according to Tomtom.
Of course, users cannot necessarily tweet while driving, for safety reasons, but the potential to use it when stuck in traffic and as a mode of communication between a driver and whoever he or she is visiting makes it an interesting and useful feature. Most of us have Twitter accessible from our mobile phones, but having it built straight into the satnav makes things a little bit more accessible when on the go.
One of the handiest things about the Twitter implementation is the estimated time of arrival feature, which is pre-set by drivers before they embark on their journey. This automatically updates as the journey is made, without the need for the driver to manually change things.
For those not keen on Twitter or various aspects of the functionality there is an option to turn it off.
It's interesting to note that Tomtom didn't opt to add Facebook instead, which is a much bigger social network than Twitter. Apart from the possible high fees Facebook might charge, we imagine this has something to do with the potential for Facebook to distract drivers with its myriad of status updates, notifications, games, and so forth. The last thing Tomtom would want would be people crashing while liking a link on Facebook.
The ability to search for travel reviews through the satnav is also a very useful feature, particularly when abroad. Tomtom has implemented driver-friendly versions of Expedia, Tripadvisor and Yelp, helping to keep people informed about the area where they're driving.
"We know that people want to stay connected - at home, at work, and everywhere in between. By giving them the option to tweet their estimated time of arrival (ETA) and their destination, as well as offering access to leading online travel services through new Search & Go LIVE Services, Tomtom is bringing a new level of connectivity to the car without compromising safety," said Corinne Vigreux, managing director of the consumer division of Tomtom.
Vigreux added that Tomtom is "giving drivers a glimpse into the future of connected navigation" and said that the company will continue to add real-time services and content to enhance drivers' journeys. We expect many rivals will also follow suit.
The services will initially launch in the US, Germany and New Zealand in October, with further rollouts planned thereafter. µ