Honda is joining the ranks of automakers embracing Google’s services. As teased last year, the company has announced that the 2023 Accord sedan’s high-end Touring trim will be the brand’s first car with Google built-in as standard. You’ll have out-of-the-dealership access to Google Assistant, Google Maps and the Play Store on the vehicle’s 12.3-inch infotainment display. You can tweak the climate control, navigate or download a favorite music app without relying on your phone.
There’s no mention of pricing for the Google features. GM offers three free years of Google built-in access for vehicles like the GMC Yukon, but requires a $15 monthly subscription after that. You won’t lose all functionality after that, though. The Accord Touring will also support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, with a 15W wireless charger to keep your phone running.
Honda hasn’t said which other cars will adopt the functionality. It won’t be surprising if the Prologue EV and other future models use the technology, however. A handful of rivals already use some form of Google built-in, including Volvo, its Polestar offshoot, GM’s brands and Renault. Ford will also use the platform starting in 2023.
Google has strong incentives to bring its apps to as many cars as possible — to an extent, it’s racing against time. Amazon Alexa is already available in some cars, and manufacturers are gaining more control over it thanks to Custom Assistant. Apple doesn’t (currently) have a standalone platform for cars, but its new generation of CarPlay can effectively take over your dash. If Google doesn’t win enough partners, it risks losing influence in the automotive world.
Not everyone is happy about expansions like these. Senator Elizabeth Warren has called on the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department to investigate Big Tech’s expansion to cars. She’s concerned Google and others might stifle competition by requiring service bundles and otherwise discouraging the use of third-party apps. Honda won’t be affected by this political pressure in the near term, but it may get more control over app selection if regulators decide to act.
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