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Checking-in to a restaurant, finding friends will be as easy as entering a location on your GPS
Technology in cars has greatly improved finding your destination and keeping the kids entertained with cartoons in the back seat, but now Facebook would like to get in your car and help you locate friends and check-in to your latest location.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Facebook nabbed the feature spot on Monday night to announce a key partnership with Mercedes Benz.
Facebook has been creating partnerships with various TV platforms so that you can connect on any device or screen you may see -- several TV manufacturers and DirecTV are already the buzz at CES and haven't yet been shown off to the public. Next I expect Facebook will be coming to a mirror near you.
The Facebook functionality in the car, however, will be a more limited version with just a few key features centered around location.
Since cars are already coming off the line with GPS integration, the ability for people to locate where their friends are or events are being held is a promising feature for this new partnership.
Facebook and Mercedes are both aware that safety is a key factor in adding more technology and interactions in a vehicle and any text addition features are disabled when the car is in motion.
One expected feature for the integration is that if a destination is set in the car's navigation, the user and publish that they are on their way to the location and the system will provide an ETA based on distance and traffic patterns seen.
Users can also see a list of friends or restaurants in the vicinity, as well as spots they have "liked" on Facebook.
Facebook will be one of a handful of specially designed apps -- including Google and Yelp -- that Mercedes owners can flip between by turning a knob.
These applications are part of the mbrace2 telematic system, powered by Hughes Telematic, Inc.
Mbrace2 adds new services to Mercedes vehicles that are compatible with both iPhone and Android. The new services will be featured in 2012 with the MY13 SL-Class in the spring.
The apps are part of Mercedes new mbrace2 telematics system, which features a high-resolution color screen near the dashboard and a high-speed wireless Internet connection.
"The connected services included in mbrace2 will enhance both the driving experience and the ownership experience for Mercedes-Benz customers," said Steve Cannon, president and CEO, Mercedes Benz USA, in a statement Tuesday. "Traditionally, in-vehicle technology is finalized more than a year before a vehicle comes to market and is difficult to upgrade. The mbrace2 system solves the vehicle electronics lifecycle conundrum in a unique way, creating a truly networked vehicle that is always online, always upgradeable."
Mbrace2 features 3G network connectivity and enhanced integration with other vehicle networks to remotely access Travel Zones/geo-fences, remote vehicle health diagnostics, Curfew Minder, Driving Journal, Speed Alerts, Valet Protect, and Remote Horns & Lights.
Some Facebook features that Mercedes drivers will see include games such as Zynga's CityVille or EA's Bejeweled -- this Mercedes' version of Facebook will not support any third-party apps.
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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users. Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist. The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel. Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco. For more information, please visit www.zynga.com.