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Transportation Android Google Operating Systems Privacy Apple

Porsche Chooses Apple Over Google Because Google Wants Too Much Data 423

countach44 writes: As reported in number 5 of this list from Motor Trend, Porsche went with Apple over Google for the infotainment system in its new 911. Apparently, Android Auto wants vehicle data (throttle position, speed, coolant temp, etc.) whereas Apple Play only needs to know if the car is in motion. Naturally, people are curious what Google, as a company building its own car, wants that data for.
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Porsche Chooses Apple Over Google Because Google Wants Too Much Data

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  • They're creating a walled garden around my data! How dare they!
    /duck
    /run

    • Ok, why do they even need to know if the car is in MOTION at all just to play music??

      All of my car stereos so far, have never had to have any connection to car info to play my songs as I barrel down the road. On custom installs, I've never hooked to any of the car data, etc.

      Why would an entertainment system need to know any of that information at all?

      • by hrimhari ( 1241292 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @04:34PM (#50673589) Journal

        To block you from doing distracting tasks while driving such as editing a playlist or browsing your contact list.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          To block passengers in your car from doing useful tasks while you are driving such as editing a playlist, browsing your contact list, or searching for food/gas/bathrooms on your route.

          FTFY. This nanny corp crap really needs to go away.

          • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @05:46PM (#50674253)

            To block passengers in your car from doing useful tasks

            Most modern cars have weight sensors in the front seats, so the computer will know if there is someone in the passenger seat. If the car is in motion, and there is no passenger, then it is reasonable to change the UI behavior.

            This nanny corp crap really needs to go away.

            You may feel different when some distracted driver runs over your kid. This isn't just about protecting people from themselves. Distracted drivers are a danger to other people as well.

            • You may feel different when some distracted driver runs over your kid. This isn't just about protecting people from themselves. Distracted drivers are a danger to other people as well.

              Which is why manually operated cars should be outlawed.

          • To block passengers in your car from doing useful tasks while you are driving such as editing a playlist, browsing your contact list, or searching for food/gas/bathrooms on your route.

            FTFY. This nanny corp crap really needs to go away.

            Nice try. The user interface is placed for operation by the driver. Whatever the passengers do with it will at least be in the peripheral vision of the driver, if not actually in the way of his right hand and arm - which I would count as a distraction again. Not to mention that to reach the UI, the passenger will likely need to move from his seat, probably including unbuckling, putting him in danger in case of accident. Which is actually more likely because he is fucking distracting the driver.

        • Or block the passenger from doing it, just like my car does with the GPS. It's my fucking car, unless it's against the law, it shouldn't be controlling my behaviour (Even then it still shouldn't).
          Same goes for stupid seat-belt warnings, or door open warnings which prevent me from playing the stereo while cleaning out my car. Oh no, the door is open and the key is in the ignition, I'll sound an unending obnoxious warning sound to prevent you from doing something every car owner has done for decades.
          My next
      • by Alascom ( 95042 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @04:39PM (#50673643)

        A couple of years ago, your probably asked why a phone needed sensors - like gyros, compass, temperature, motion, fingerprints, cameras, etc.

        If you want to do really innovative and cool stuff, you need a way for the computer to be aware of the world around it. If you are a "car" system and you want to make really useful and cool apps for cars, then things like speed, g-forces, braking, turn signals, GPS, temperature and other sensors all become really essential.

        • by Last Warrior ( 105980 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @04:52PM (#50673797)

          The point is that Porsche should be telling google what they want their entertainment system to do and how much information they want to send to it. Google should not be asking for this information and they should definitely not be the one dictating what information is required for an embedded audio entertanment system. the next thing you know Google will be sending all the data back to their datacenters, monitoring not only where you are but how fat you are diving, what rpms you are changing gears so they can let your insurance know if you have a lead foot, and your auto mechanic if you like to bounce off the rev limiter a little too often.

          losing out on my privacy and autonomy in the name of someone elses stupid feature is the wrong way to go. Google making demands on a car company when the car company is the one who should be making decisions about the features and functionality of the car is the wrong way to go.

          Google should STFU and be happy that someone wants to pay to license their technology and then they should work to provide the features that the licensee wants.

          • by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @05:20PM (#50674029)

            I don't know if you've kept up with the latest and greatest when it comes to maintaining a car, but car manufacturers are VERY CONTROLLING when it comes to being able to read sensor data. The reason they do this is because they can keep third party mechanics out unless they pay $$$$$ to become a licensed technician or otherwise obtain the diagnostic information needed to effectively work on today's cars. Car repair is big bucks for the manufacturer if they keep that information proprietary.

            If Porsche handed that stuff over to Google, it would make it a HELL of a lot easier for end users to be able to troubleshoot their car and fix it on their own, and THAT could seriously hurt Porsch's aftermarket revenue, hence I could see why they wouldn't want it. I'm guessing that Google might want this information mainly to allow app developers to be able to better use their imagination, but still, I doubt Porsche would give it up anyways.

            • by adolf ( 21054 ) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @05:55PM (#50674339) Journal

              All of the things listed in TFS are already available on the OBD-II port.

              • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                What they are really worried about is people being able to install apps that diagnose problems with their car automatically. No need to buy and fit a cheap OBD-II dongle, just head over to the app store and download an app. They are probably also worried about things like emission data becoming common knowledge. The car has sensors, it knows how bad its exhaust is, but most people never see the data from them.

          • Imagine if Google tracked your car telematics and automatically showed you ads for auto mechanics when your car breaks down, or driving school if your drive recklessly? They want unlimited power to shows you with relevant ads.

          • by Wovel ( 964431 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @10:38PM (#50676245) Homepage

            Google absolutely did want all the data set back to their data center. Porsche clearly states this.

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        Mine do, in fact the double din I installed in the wifes civic has a ODB-II Canbus input so it can do fully adjustable dim levels with the dash lighting and speed sensitive volume adjust. But I also can look at all the ODB information in any android app I install.

        It runs plain old Android 4.2.2 and is a china wing-wang-wong no name brand. does more things than the top of the line Pioneer or JVC can.

      • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @04:57PM (#50673851) Homepage Journal

        1. Google says it is not true.
        2. Adding things like current speed and wheel angle can really help with dead reckoning when GPS is having a problem getting a lock like going through a tunnel.
        3. Knowing how much fuel you have left and your current mpg can help it find the cheapest gas along your route.

        • by Barnoid ( 263111 )

          1. Google says it is not true.
          2. Adding things like current speed and wheel angle can really help with dead reckoning when GPS is having a problem getting a lock like going through a tunnel.
          3. Knowing how much fuel you have left and your current mpg can help it find the cheapest gas along your route.

          True, but to implement 2 or 3 only the navigation app needs that data. You don't need to send it all the way to Google (and TFA says so).

      • by geeper ( 883542 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @05:17PM (#50674007)
        My truck has a variable volume based on speed so that the volume lowers as the truck slows. It's a handy feature. That is the only reason I can think of.
      • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

        Ok, why do they even need to know if the car is in MOTION at all just to play music??

        This isn't about music.
        It's fairly standard for Infotainment systems to need a sensor input as to whether the car is in motion (or in gear), as many can play back video and they don't want you watching movies when you're driving. Some also tie into gear selection so they know when to activate an installed backup camera and display its video feed.

  • Not surprising (Score:4, Informative)

    by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @03:54PM (#50673109) Homepage
    On my new phone I wanted to get Google maps - until Google insisted on getting Microphone rights so that it could use voice commands.

    Delete App.

    You want to offer voice command only if you give microphone access? Fine. But to demand it is not acceptable.

  • by Michael Casavant ( 2876793 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @03:54PM (#50673111)
    Information about the car is what CONSUMERS want. Google is asking for it because we are asking for it.
    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      Exactly - people want to see all this data and have Google log/display it. It's already plugged into the car so it might as well be aware of its surroundings.
      • Actually, I want NO ONE to see it. I'd be happier if my car had no 'black box' data recorder, because what I do with my car is no one's business unless I break the law with it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

      Yeah. This is useful for lots of automated diagnostics functions.

      Also, SOME of that data (not all of it) is highly beneficial for augmenting navigation systems (most notably, vehicle speedometer and steering position). Google even explicitly mentioned how this data would be used by Android Auto in a presentation somewhere (I don't have the link to it now...) It's hinted at a bit past one minute in to https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] but I'm fairly certain I saw a presentation somewhere explicitly statin

      • by macs4all ( 973270 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @04:34PM (#50673585)

        Yeah. This is useful for lots of automated diagnostics functions.

        Also, SOME of that data (not all of it) is highly beneficial for augmenting navigation systems (most notably, vehicle speedometer and steering position). Google even explicitly mentioned how this data would be used by Android Auto in a presentation somewhere (I don't have the link to it now...) It's hinted at a bit past one minute in to https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] but I'm fairly certain I saw a presentation somewhere explicitly stating that vehicle GPS, steering position, and wheel speed would be used for location sensor fusion.

        Yeah, everyone wants minute by minute logging of their Coolant Temperature and Throttle Position.

        If that was Apple, Slashdot's Apple-Haters would be setting the Internets on fire with the hate-posts.

    • I'll be cynical, and guess that Google wants the data so they can sell it to insurance companies. This would be of extreme value, if, for example, a Hollywood star died in a car crash in a Porsche, doing 100mph in a 40mph zone, and someone tries to sue Porsche for a design defect.

      On the other hand . . . maybe if Volkswagen diesels were equipped with something that collect the real emissions data . . . the fudge in Volkswagen diesels might have been found earlier.

      Maybe we should call them Fudgewagen . . .

      • Maybe we should call them Fudgewagen . . . ?

        Howabout "Fraudfenugen"?

      • I'll be cynical, and guess that Google wants the data so they can sell it to insurance companies

        I highly doubt it. That would involve directly linking data to a customer. It would also involve giving the data to another party. Neither of these things is something Google has been shown as willing to do.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @04:16PM (#50673355)

      Information about the car is what CONSUMERS want. Google is asking for it because we are asking for it.

      Umm, no. Google is asking for it because Google's CUSTOMERS want it.

      Hint: You are NOT a Google customer. You are Google's PRODUCT.

      Google's CUSTOMERS are INTERNET ADVERTISERS looking to strip mine your life for data.

      Google's business model is to turn your privacy upside down, shake the shit out of it, and collect everything and anything that falls out.

      Then they go through your privacy's pockets looking for loose change because it's completely dead.

    • I don't know what consumers you're talking about, but the average "consumer" of a car - the middle class Joe - could care less about the info described. Most of the diagnostic data (temps, etc.) is already available via ODBII or the current dash display. The driving data itself sounds like everything you do to control your car - pedal positions, speed, etc. Why does Google need all that to provide a better experience? Do they want to stream "I Can't Drive 55" or radar detector ads to accurately targeted cu
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Information about the car is what CONSUMERS want. Google is asking for it because we are asking for it.

      Well, it's already available... I mean, coolant temp is that little gauge, fuel is the other gauge. I don't particularly care about throttle position since it's less useful (if I want to go faster, my foot presses harder on the gas pedal, and I watch the speedometer needle climb).

      Etc.

      The Apple model is "Don't collect anything unless there's a reason we need it". Google's is "Collect all the data, and when

      • I don't particularly care about throttle position since it's less useful

        Think outside the box. You may not want information about the throttle position, but maybe you want some information about the car economy? Maybe you want to know if your mileage is going to hell because something is wrong or because your driving style has changed. Things like throttle position can help give you that data. People rarely if ever are interested in the raw data from sensors but are often very keen to know some information derived from the analytics of these sensors.

        Since we're talking about c

        • by Altus ( 1034 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @04:55PM (#50673825) Homepage

          That's what the lovely built in computer that porche provides is for. The dashboard can show you many of these things. Porche will provide more info than almost any of its customers would care for. The rest will prefer using their custom tools to read more detailed raw data. Android is there to do gps and handle in car entertainment and communication. Nothing else

          • You're missing it. Apple's product requires third-party implementations to make up the difference. Google's product has it built in. As far as I can tell, my Q50's electronics for instance are a cobbled together mess of a few different OEMs, with an Infiniti badged facade wrapped around them. Android Auto, eliminates the bug prone piecemeal approach in favor of a common and inclusive platform. This makes it easier to maintain and secure, provides user's a broader eco-system of on board apps, and allows
      • But you kinda-sorta already know Apple's been angling at the "you're not the product" aspect for privacy the past couple of years or so as a way to compete with Google.

        You're mistaken.

        Although Apple has come to realize that they can "Market" their Privacy Policy, it was already in place long before people started getting sensitive to being data-raped continuously.

        Apple sells hardware (primarily). They have no need nor interest in monetizing your data. And they freely admit that "iAd" is the (really, really miniscule) exception to that rule.

    • Information about the car is what CONSUMERS want.

      Are you sure about that? What little actual user research I've seen suggests that most customers don't think much of in-car "infotainment" systems generally. The same research suggests that these systems are almost never a deciding factor in sales, except in the wrong direction if they are so bad that they stick out or, in a few cases, because of security or privacy concerns.

      And really, who can blame those customers, when these systems almost invariably look awful and work even worse, even in very expensive

    • I might want information about my car to be displayed on my phone. I do NOT want it sent to Google.

  • by Luthair ( 847766 )

    Google isn't making a car, iirc they've said they're going to license the technology. On the other hand Apple does seem to be seriously interested in make its own cars and is hiring people. The information isn't that interesting either, the most likely use would be applications to help people, but invariably car makers feel that the vehicles are appliances and that they should be able to charge customers for information about their own vehicle.

    Ultimately however Porsche's strategy doesn't work, if their c

    • The information isn't that interesting either, the most likely use would be applications to help people

      The most likely use of collecting data about vehicles and driving style is probably selling it to insurers for a huge profit.

      The next most likely use of collecting data about vehicles and driving style is probably selling it to advertisers for a huge profit.

      Somewhere down the list there are probably things to do with law enforcement.

      Somewhere near a footnote on page 17 there are probably things that will actually help make cars better for their owners, or least make future versions of cars better for their

  • Isn't all that information readily available via OBDII anyway? What's the issue with getting a direct feed of it?

    • Google is an analytics "Big Data" company first and foremost. I'm surprised that's all they wanted from the OBD2 port. Perhaps that is all that's technically possible to get out of it!

    • Yes, it is. Plenty of aftermarket products do just that and more.
    • Here's a list of what is available from the OBD-II port:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OBD-II_PIDs#Standard_PIDs
    • Isn't all that information readily available via OBDII anyway?

      Not to Google, it isn't.

  • Dashboards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hsa ( 598343 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @03:58PM (#50673165)
    Google Dashboard:

    Throttle position
    Speed
    Coolant temp
    Fuel Consumption
    etc.

    Apple Dashboard:

    The car is moving.
    • This issue pertains to which types of data are being centrally tracked by the service itself, not dashboard data.
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      It's an infotainment system. I believe there are already things on the dashboard that will tell you all these metrics and will not require using a touchscreen to view. The glorified stereo/nav system doesn't really need the info.

      • The glorified stereo/nav system doesn't really need the info.

        Reread your sentence and rethink that. What could a nav system possibly use throttle position, speed, steering position for?

        The rest of those are probably to allow display of these values back to the user.

      • by Drathos ( 1092 )

        Have you seen the extra INFO that is in the INFOtainment system (I really hate that name, FWIW) for some higher end cars, like the GTR?

    • Eventually, Apple will be gathering all that data too. Because people will demand it. Google on the otherhand is just asking for the data now, so they can provide a more complete diagnostic and failure predictive warnings.

      "We have noticed that A, B and Z are happening in your (Y) (BRAND) (MAKE) Vehicle. We recommend (Car Shop Advertiser) take a look and repair the (Part) that is about to fail."

      If you can't measure A, B and Z (and everything else) then you can't do predictive failure warnings.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Dan East ( 318230 )

      More like:

      Apple Dashboard:

      Now playing: U2 Songs of Innocence

    • My existing car dashboard:

      Essential information I actually need when driving
      No other junk
      No other distractions

      What do I win?

    • Re:Dashboards (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @04:45PM (#50673731)

      Both the article and summary explicitly state that this is about what data is sent back to the companies, not what data is available to the apps for use in-car. From the article (emphasis mine):

      [...] Android Auto tracks variables including vehicle speed, throttle position, fluid temperatures, and engine revs, information that is collated and then sent back to Google. Apple's CarPlay, on the other hand, only checks with the car's powertrain control module to ensure that the vehicle is moving.

      That said, the article has been updated with a link to a report on Google's denial of the allegations [theverge.com]. Google denies that they collect that information, but they do say that users can opt-in to sharing data. That alone may be what Porsche had an issue with (assuming the original report is to be believed), since they may be concerned that their users will opt-in to sending back information that Porsche would rather keep in-house, instead of allowing a separate company making cars--Google--to get their hands on it.

  • ...thinks it's indistinguishable from God.

  • Google Response (Score:2, Informative)

    by feranick ( 858651 )
  • Anybody can get that kind of info by just plugging into the standard OBD-II port. Several aftermarket solutions provide that.
  • In 10 years, it will still be a fine car but the dash computer will be an antique. My car has bluetooth and a phone jack, and that will allow me to hook up the latest equipment to navigate and entertain me, for a long time, and replace it on my own schedule.
  • Not acurate (Score:5, Informative)

    by vovin ( 12759 ) on Tuesday October 06, 2015 @04:39PM (#50673657)

    My information *may* be outdated as I did the work over a year ago.

    Google and Apple both *want* a similar (small) set of data, neither actually *require* much of the data to operate. Car companies are really weird about providing the access (although the Head Unit either as a vendor, the common case, or the company itself, need the data anyway).
    IIRC Google's version wants to know if you are in reverse, and compass heading. Apple will infer.
    The biggest difference as an integrator for the systems is that Apple call audio used the same USB channel as entertainment / navigation audio.
    Google's call audio requires the Bluetooth HFP 1.5 which most head units already support.

    Each solution had it's own challenges, Apple with it's USB wackiness that severely the hardware options[1] and Google with the Bluetooth adding to the audio mux logic.

    Personally I find it *MUCH* more likely that Porsche vendor has CarPlay(tm) working and has a USB hardware issue with using the same port for both systems and/or dropped the Bluetooth from the CarPlay(tm) head unit to save cost.

    Basically most vendors had over a year longer to get CarPlay(tm) working before they had access to AndroidAuto but getting AndroidAuto working once you have done the work to get CarPlay(tm) to work was pretty trivial. As always getting things into production quality takes time and effort and for many of these head units it may only require a software update to get either/both systems working. In my initial prototype I supported the use case of AA for navigation and ACP for playing music handling phone calls [in part because my initial HFP work kinda stank, damn you Broadcom :-)].

    [1] Original described as variation of USB-OTG but it really isn't ... any chip with hardware/firmware OTG is unlikely to work.

  • So Porsche is so concerned about our privacy that they refused to enable Android Auto? Why don't they let us choose? GM's MyLink supports both...

When we write programs that "learn", it turns out we do and they don't.

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