Back in April, with the launch of its new model, X6, BMW and Google began offering a new service named MyInfo, a system that included the now famous and extensively used Google Maps.
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Today, BMW decided to include the Google Maps into its 2009 fleet, the exception being the BMW X3. Google Maps will power the BMW Search system which will be available only in the vehicles equipped with BMW Assist and Navigation system.
In order to be able to use the same mobile technology as the European models, BMW had basically only two choices when it came to which mobile provider to choose for the U.S market: AT&T and T-Mobile. Most likely the decision to go with AT&T was based on the largest network coverage that the U.S based cell-phone company offers. Since the 3G High-Speed networks are way underdeveloped compared to Europe, the BMW’s in-car mobile technology will use the GPRS network, an older technology that will be considerably slower than the current standards. So, do not expect any fast blazing searches when it comes to Google Maps, but it will still most likely satisfy the BMW owners.
The price for this? Wait, you didn’t think it was free, right? BMW Search will set you back exactly $199/year, and it will be part of the concierge plan available in the BMW Assist.
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Full Press Release
BMW ADDS NEW “BMW SEARCH” SERVICE TO BMW ASSISTTM POWERED BY GOOGLE MAPS™.
Available in BMW Assist & Navigation-equipped 2009 BMW 1 & 3 Series Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey – September 15, 2008… BMW introduces access to Google Maps (http://maps.google.com) search capability within the vehicle on 2009 BMW Assist and Navigation system – equipped 1 and 3 Series. For the first time, subscribers to the optional BMW Assist Convenience Plan can access “BMW Search” to quickly find a desired business with just a key word, benefiting from the world’s most famous online search engine. After finding what you want, you can immediately start route guidance or a hands-free call with your Bluetooth® -linked phone at just a simple push of a button.
Utilizing newly introduced hardware operating on the AT&T Mobility GSM network, this unique service identifies the current location and destination of the vehicle automatically and then displays the local results with details of address, phone number and distance. For example, you can look up business information like the names of restaurants, hotels, service stations, banks, supermarkets, cinemas and public facilities such as schools or city halls, all by the simple use of a key word. You can also easily ask for a search at another location.
In a nutshell, “BMW Search” using Google search technology and intelligence saves time and reduces frustration with destination entry on today’s navigation systems. The information you look up is continuously updated by Google. “BMW Search” is the next logical and consequential development of the link between the automobile and the Internet.
To allow customers to send business listings and street addresses with associated phone numbers from the internet directly to their BMW, Google and BMW began offering “MyInfo” with the introduction of the X6 back in April, now extended to all other 2009 BMWs except for X3. “BMW Search” now opens up access to the Internet directly from the vehicle, representing another building block in the BMW Assist services portfolio. About BMW Assist: BMW Assist provides the driver with services that enhance on-the-road security and convenience, for added peace of mind. The BMW Assist and Bluetooth® System is standard on all 5, 6 and 7 Series models, including the M5 and M6, and is included in the Premium Package or available as a stand-alone option on all other models. BMW includes the Safety Plan for 4 years at no additional cost. BMW is the only manufacturer that offers this duration of service as other manufacturers only include the first year of service. The BMW Assist Safety Plan is a subscription based service that is subject to certain limitations.
The in-vehicle equipment integrates GPS technology and hands-free wireless communication functions to deliver emergency and other services, accessed via buttons in the overhead or center console. The BMW Assist system transmits the location and vehicle information to the BMW Assist Response Center. A response specialist speaks with the vehicle occupants to coordinate dispatch, notify emergency contacts on file, and link BMW Roadside Assistance or emergency services as needed and/or requested. A severe accident automatically activates the Automatic Collision Notification function.
The BMW Assist Safety Plan also includes Door Unlock and Stolen Vehicle Recovery services, which can save the driver time and money. New to BMW Assist is MyInfo, which allows users to send business listings and street addresses with associated phone numbers from the internet, directly to their BMW. TeleService automatically notifies the BMW center when the vehicle will need service. A service advisor then proactively calls the customer to set up a convenient appointment and have the needed parts ready.
BMW Assist subscribers can also enroll in the BMW Assist Convenience Plan (available at an additional cost of $199 per year) to avail themselves of BMW Assist concierge services; from finding the lowest fuel price or the best French restaurant in the area to information on flight arrival gates or times, as well as receiving directions, traffic and weather information. On most models produced September 2006 and later, a selected destination and its phone number can be sent directly to the BMW Navigation system and the subscriber’s Bluetooth – linked mobile phone, after a push of the Concierge menu option. New for 2009 is BMW Search, which allows online access to the Google Maps database inside the vehicle to quickly find a desired business with just a key word. The Convenience Plan also includes Critical Calling, a service that can connect the driver to a requested party via a response specialist in case their mobile phone is not in the vehicle or its battery is discharged.
Lastly, the BMW Assist system includes Bluetooth hands-free calling and phone connectivity with phonebook access and speech recognition for dialing by name or number via steering wheel controls. Use of this feature requires a customer-provided compatible Bluetooth mobile phone. To learn more about BMW Assist, please visit www.bmwassist.com.