Toyota Friend Brings Social Networking to the Prius
By rptoyota on May 25, 2011
What I’m about to say is going to sound a little odd, but bear with me—Toyota wants you to be friends with your car. And no, I’m not talking about something like, “Hey, yeah me and my Corolla are buddies.” I mean, like, literally friends. Well, maybe more like Facebook friends, but friends all the same.
Toyota is working with Microsoft and Salesforce.com to put together a social networking service called “Toyota Friend” that will link together a driver and her vehicle the same way that so many humans are actually linked to each other via Twitter and, of course, Facebook.
It sounds a little confusing, but it really isn’t. In actuality, it’s just a gimmicky way to get your car to communicate with you about all its needs. Consider it the personification of the Prius, giving it a first-person narrative voice to make updates about charging and maintenance as friendly and personal as possible.
When Toyota demonstrated an early version of their new auto social networking system in Tokyo recently, they showed how a hybrid Prius could send a message to its driver’s phone as such: “Don’t forget to charge your car overnight!” Then, once charging, the driver would get another message saying something like, “I’ll be done charging at 2:15am. See you in the morning!”
It’s a remarkably chipper and entertaining way to go about “communicating” with one’s vehicle, but it’s also pretty innovative, especially as Toyota attempts to market their vehicles to a new generation of consumers that have grown up communicating with everyone this way. Why shouldn’t they be given the option to talk with their cars this way, too?
And since this is all so similar to Facebook and Twitter, it’s been mentioned that any interaction one has with his car could be posted there for good measure. If people can post their score on a “Dancing With the Stars” quiz or post how many miles they ran that day, why not this?
Obviously, this isn’t something you’ll be able to get with some cheap used car. Boynton Beach Toyota dealerships will have to instead direct you to the newer iterations of hybrid vehicles sometime in 2012 to get a taste. But it’ll eventually make its way over here from Japan, and then you and your car can be BFF’s in a way you never thought possible.