If Google Built Cars

Google Care being driving by former CEO

Remember the old If Microsoft Built Cars meme that imagined a hypothetical vehicle built by the company that brought you the Windows operating system and all its annoyances? A car available after the year it was named for that you’d have to periodically restart? That you’d be constantly pressured to upgrade? That came with new features like the “General Car Fault” warning light which competitor models already had for years? And so many faults that people just accepted?

If Microsoft Built Cars Infographic

As Google approaches the same slumbering monopolistic phase that Microsoft went through, it’s time to put the beloved search giant to the same test. How would a Google-manufactured car look and act?

1. A particular model car would always be in beta.

2. Most available windshield space above the fold of the dashboard would contain ads, carousel images and knowledge data (car dealership stickers that you can never pull off without ruining your paint job)

3. Popular unprofitable car models would suddenly be discontinued and mourned by customers.

4. The rear bumper would feature a nofollow feature that would nullify any perceived or real advantage gained by tailgating cars.

5. Every time a new model car was released, traffic would drop.

6. A personal driving results history would take drivers to destinations the driving algorithm determined – even if drivers had no interest and were embarrassed by being there.

7. You would be able to find any recent, relevant, popular item that you had thrown in the back seat.

8. A spokesman would busily rebut consumer complaints about the latest model. Feedback would be gathered and brought to the attention of engineers but there would never be a recall.

9. Google cars wouldn’t compete with GM or Honda or BMW. They would not even be called “cars” but rather a “vehicular layer” which could be built into other Google products.

10. In order for the car to start, you would have to be logged into your Google+ account.

11. You couldn’t buy fuel for the car. You would have to earn it naturally.

12. You wouldn’t have to drive it. The vehicle would know where you wanted to go before you left.

13. Google cars wouldn’t sell well in China.

14. The Europeans would sue for huge amounts in damages because the vehicle violated some obscure law and it wouldn’t phase Google.

15. Google Motors loyalty program members with over 10 years tenure who read the fine print, followed the rules stringently and cheered for the company would have their memberships cancelled.

16. You would never know the passengers who rode with you. That information would be “not provided” for your own well-being except in cases where drivers used the paid Google cab service.

Larry Page Driving Google Car Wearing Glass

And What if Apple Built Cars?

Did you know that Apple could be making cars by 2025? That’s right, your favorite (or most hated) tech company might be the biggest name in automobile manufacturing within the next decade.

While it might sound ridiculous, Apple simply doesn’t want to be left behind as other tech companies like Tesla and Google are already making waves in the auto industry.

Will the Apple car fall close to the tree or turn out to be just another lemon?

Tim Cook Driving Apple Car

The Good

  1. Doesn’t everybody love the Genius Bar? Apple vehicle dealerships wouldn’t be complete without a white desk full of greased-up Apple car geniuses.
  2. Sitting in traffic just got a lot more entertaining now that you can access the in-car App Store. Playing Tower Defense on your car ride home has never been so satisfying.
  3. Apple long ago patented its signature “slide to unlock” technology. Instead of clicking your key fob, simply slide your finger across your door handle.
  4. The company wouldn’t settle for anything less than the best car commercials you’ve ever seen. It’s no secret that Apple has a top-notch marketing team, so expect awesome TV commercials for their first automobile.
  5. Sure, you may not be able to customize any software, but there will be endless accessories you can buy. Colored seat belts and blinged-out headlights from Wal-Mart are just some of the cheap accessories you can add to your car.

The Bad

  1. Your vehicle would come with a rechargeable battery, but the cord wouldn’t be long enough to reach an outlet.
  2. Every year, your car would be out of commission for a few days as it updates to an entirely new and unfamiliar operating system.
  3. Siri commands would become the most frustrating thing in the world as it repeatedly mishears your voice commands, offering to “search the web” instead of providing any real help.
  4. You can only listen to U2 in your car, but at least you get all their new albums for free.
  5. Every model would have patently uncreative names like the iCar, iCar 2, and of course, the iCar S3.
  6. Apple fanboys would never stop talking about how great their vehicle is.
  7. You’d have tons of useless companion apps that just take up space. Your iPhone is full of these ridiculous apps like Passbook, Newsstand, and iTunes U – what are these apps and who even uses them?
  8. Your car will have limited customization options and is only available in three colors: gray, silver, and gold. Don’t like your tires either? Too bad – as soon as you take them off, Apple voids the warranty.
  9. Soccer moms rejoice, the Apple car might look like a minivan. According to multiples sources, Apple’s “Titan” project is nothing more than a sleek version of the Honda Odyssey.
  10. Steering wheels? Apple is too good to use old-fashioned technology like that. Your new steering wheel will look just like the Click Wheel from your old iPod.

The Ugly

  1. Your kids would be better at using it than you are. Yes, this will most certainly be the case. Hopefully the car will offer completely autonomous driving so your 8-year old doesn’t wind up in the driver’s seat.
  2. Apple will know everything about you, where you’ve been, what kind of fast food you like, and what kind of music you listen to.
  3. There will be a huge black market for knockoff Apple cars in China. We can only expect these fake cars will have barebones safety features.
  4. It could be a huge flop. Just look at the Apple Watch right now, which is achieving underwhelming sales and hype around the tech community. Let’s not forget other memorable flops like the G4 Cube or Apple gaming system, Pippin.

So, if you find yourself driving or being driven by a big tech beta automobile, exercise the same caution you that did in the early days when upgrading an operating system or optimizing a website for Google, Apple or Microsoft.

Michael Nozick contributed to this post.

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12 Responses

  1. I’m really looking forward to item #12. It certainly seems like it’s coming, but I hope I can buy a self-driving car in my lifetime.

    In the meantime, it’s already freaky enough that when I get in my car Google knows where I plan to go and can give me quick directions to it. Or better yet, when Google tells me to get off my tail and get into my car so I’m not late for the appointment I nearly forgot about. :)

    1. It’s going to get really interesting when the autopiloted car becomes a reality. I hope it won’t be too dependent on the accuracy of Google Maps :)

  2. It will definitely be interesting to see what Google comes up with next. Any idea what their success rate is on their products? While their mail, docs, and search platform are revolutionary, they have had several flops as well. Hopefully if they really release a “vehicular layer” one day, it will be a raving success!

    1. According one post, the product failure rate was 36%.

      The flops don’t seem to hurt Google, do they?

      My greatest curiosity? What is Google going to do with that robotics company they acquired.

    1. Brian Hughes – yeah, so if you don’t log in, you don’t wake up :)

      We’re all familiar with the disruption caused by Google search penalties. What if Google penalized your car?

      I don’t know what sci fi film best represents Kurzweil. Terminator, Robocop or maybe The Matrix? The classic theme of don’t mess with nature or it will bite you back seems at work here. That guy is indeed creepy.

  3. Kimberly, posts like this are my favorite kind to write and why I love blogging so much.

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