Car News

GM Canada Says "OK Google"

General Motors has rolled out a new connected-car feature developed in partnership with Google, allowing owners to ask their Google Assistant-compatible device to control a number of vehicle functions.

Don't think you can just ask Google drive you to work, though. Instead, you can now ask it to start your car or lock the doors, whether you're at home, at work, or walking down the street. GM says that its Google Assistant integration is compatible with 1.25 million Buick, Chevrolet, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles from model year 2011 and newer. There are no additional costs associated with the integration; however, the service requires an OnStar subscription. Up to four vehicles can be paired with a given Google Account.

What Google Assistant can do depends on what equipment a vehicle already has: if you don’t have a remote start function, for example, it won’t be available in Google Assistant. There’s also no support at this time for activating your climate control or forwarding directions from Google Maps – you’ll still have to be in the car for that.

Just think about it: Instead of worrying whether you locked your Escalade as you relax in the Air Canada lounge at YYZ, all you have to do is tell your phone to do it. Or, if it's cold and you know that your Volt can take its time warming up, you can start it without having to leave the comfort of your home. 

While facial recognition and fingerprint ID have made PINs pretty much obsolete these days, users of the service will once again have to get comfortable with a PIN number because you’ll need to use one every time you trigger a vehicle function, such as “Hey Google, ask Chevrolet to start my car.”

Drivers can activate the integration by linking their Google account to GM’s Owner Centre, after downloading the appropriate app – myBuick, myCadillac, myChevrolet, or myGMC. After the initial setup, any Google Assistant-compatible device (e.g. Google Home, your smartphone, smartwatches, etc.) can be used to access vehicle functions.

GM previously launched a similar integration with Amazon Alexa.