Toyota and Microsoft Corp last month announced about plans to bring Internet-connected services to Toyota's cars across the world. And now Toyota Motor Corp. and cloud computing company Salesforce.com (based in San Francisco) announced their alliance on Monday to launch "Toyota Friend," a private social network for Toyota owners.
With an evolving technology in every part of life, the consumers not only want more connectivity with their laptops and phones, but with their cars also. Information technology and telematics are expected to play a vital role in adding value to future cars. Many cars are already equipped with navigation and other network-linking capabilities, and can function as a mobile device just like an iPhone or a Blackberry. Toyota has also developed its own telematics service to connect it with drivers and dealers.
Under the new private social network owners will be able to "chat" with their Toyotas like they would with a friend on Twitter or Facebook.The car would have its own "profile" and send a message to the driver's phone, for instance, reminding him to recharge its depleted battery. The owner would be able to carry out a simple, two-way conversation with the car. If the car is up for an inspection, for example, the owner will be notified through "Toyota Friend," which will in turn automatically link to a dealer to set up an appointment.
On Monday Toyota President Akio Toyoda at a joint news conference with Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff in Tokyo said -
Social networking services are transforming human interaction and modes of communication. The automobile needs to evolve in step with that transformation. I hope cars can become friends with their users, and customers will see Toyota as a friend. I want a relationship with my car in the same way we have a relationship with our friends on social networks.
Toyota is investing 442 million yen ($5.5 million), Microsoft Corp. is investing 335 million yen ($4.1 million) and Salesforce.com 223 million yen ($2.8 million) in the project. The service would be an extension of Toyota's network to be based on Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform that would give customers across the world access to Toyota's digital services such as GPS and multimedia.
Source : Yahoo !