Luxury car manufacturers constantly outdo each other in horsepower, features, comfort and, most of all, gadgets. The Mercedes S Klasse, the BMW 7 Series and the Audi A8, top of the line models for each manufacturer, pack in more gadgets than the Enterprise in an effort to justify their unattainable status. The latest move comes from Audi, which has just unveiled the latest A8 and has partnered with Google to offer its clients a first, a Google Earth-enabled navigation system.
“Google has worked with the automotive industry to bring services like Local Search into cars in the past - now we're teaming up with Audi to bring an entirely new type of technology into the car: Google Earth,” Jens Redmer, Principal, New Business Development, and Wieland Holfelder, Engineering Director at Google Germany, wrote.
“With their newly unveiled Audi A8, Audi is the first car manufacturer to bring Google Earth directly into the vehicle and to combine that with a set of useful Google services. We've worked closely with them to create a compelling in-car experience integrated with the Audi navigation system,” they added.
While it's not an exact replica of the desktop software, the Google Earth in the A8 gets all the basic features, 3D terrain, satellite imagery and all manners of layers with additional information from Wikipedia, Panoramio, Google's geo-photo sharing service, and others.
Of course, Google Earth in your car is pretty fun but not exactly crucial or practical. Luckily, Google integrated other services like Maps and Local Search, enabling some very useful features. The best part is that the tools are integrated with the online versions so, for example, you can get driving directions for a location on your desktop and then send the results to the car. This way, it will know where you're going before you even get in. Another obvious feature is Local Search, which enables you to find restaurants or businesses nearby and then get directions for them while driving.
And in case you're not planning to get an Audi A8 just now,
Google Earth for Windows is available for download here.
Google Earth for Mac is available for download here.
Google Earth for Linux is available for download here.