BMW Adds Social Networking to Cars

By Jonathan Spira on 18 March 2010
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Tag!  You’re it!

Without much fanfare, BMW has added geotagging and social networking capabilities to its cars that allows drivers to geotag their location with a few clicks in iDrive and share it with friends via e-mail.  If a route has been entered into the car’s navigation system, the destination will be sent in the same e-mail.

This is the second update to BMW’s online services functionality within a week.  [A few days earlier,  BMW added real-time news from CNN and other sources.]  According to Henning Schlieker, BMW’s telematics marketing manager, BMW is able to easily add new functionality because the system is server based.  BMW’s online services, he promises, “will get better and better.”

To send one’s location, the driver merely clicks on “Send to Mail” in iDrive and enters a new e-mail address.  The five most recently used addresses are also stored and can be used as well.

The recipient receives an e-mail from BMW with clickable links to Google Maps for the current location or geotag as well as the destination (if navigation is active).

Geotagging adds geographical identification, such as latitude and longitude coordinates, to information or media.  It can be used to help users obtain location-specific information and find location-based news or services.  When social networking tools are combined with geotagging, leading to geosocial networking, new social dynamics can be enabled, ranging from helping a group of people meet in person to planning the location of an activity.

You could also e-mail the location of a location you wish to return to or even make note of a pothole that needs to be reported.

In more practical terms, this is an easy way to update friends and family on the progress of your trip or even to remember the location of a parking spot.

See our exclusive video for a full demonstration.

BMW Assist is standard for four years on most models including the 5er, 6er, and 7er Series and optional on other models.  BMW Assist information services including Send to Mail and News require the new CIC (Car Infotainment Computer) iDrive system.  The Convenience Plan (required for information services) costs an additional $199 per year.