Editor’s Note: Regular readers know Jeff Brown as Bill’s go-to technology expert. That’s why, for the latest trends in technology, we turn to Jeff.

With over two decades of experience in the field, he is one of Silicon Valley’s most successful angel investors. And what he sees on the horizon in the automotive industry may startle you.

Below, Jeff shows just how much your car knows about you… and why Google wants to get in it…

Your car is spying on you…

It knows your daily driving habits. It knows if you like to speed. It knows what temperature you like the car to be. It knows what music you like when you are happy… and what music you like when you are sad.

It knows how often you talk on your phone. And if you are generally pleasant… or often angry. It knows where you live and work… and how much money you make. It even knows how much you weigh… and whether you have been recently gaining or losing weight.

Simply put, your car has access to behavioral data Google wants.

In the Fine Print

Most consumers aren’t even aware of it, but all modern cars have telematic systems that connect back to the manufacturer over wireless networks. That allows the car to transmit the data it collects from its systems, sensors, and speakers back to the car company.

This might sound shocking, and it should. While many are lashing out at Google and Facebook for their business practices of collecting user data and selling it… guess what? Car companies are looking to do the same thing.

Some might argue that Google’s and Facebook’s services are “free,” so they are fine to make money through advertising revenues.

The nuance, of course, is how they do it, how they inform the consumers, and whether or not they are able to keep the data safe. History has proven that neither company has been a good actor.

Yet in the case of a car, the consumer paid for the product. And consumers pay a lot of money for an average car. If you think that we would have the privacy and security of owning something that we paid for… think again.

Your car company got your permission to collect, use, and sell your data. That’s right… They told you up front that they would do this… And you agreed.

If you have a newer model, the legal agreement was in the paperwork you signed when you bought the car. It was in the fine print that nobody reads. It says the car company can do whatever it wants with the data it collects on you.

Of course, they say it’s to improve safety and performance. Really, they are selling it to make money.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett has spoken openly about this. Here’s Hackett in an interview last year:

So the case I would make is that we have as much data in the future coming from vehicles, or from users in those vehicles, or from cities talking to those vehicles, as the other competitors that you and I would be talking about that have monetizable attraction.

He sees selling data as a way to smooth out uneven car sales. And research firm McKinsey estimates that data from cars will be worth $750 billion by 2030.

That pile of cash is why Google wants to get into your car…

An Ulterior Motive

Google recently unveiled its Android Automotive operating system (OS). And it announced that the 2020 Volvo Polestar 2 will be the first car to run the platform.

Android Automotive will look like an iPad on the dashboard. It is where drivers can access all the car’s features: heating and cooling… music… mapping… GPS directions… and more.

In other words, Android Automotive is the user interface for the car. It’s the same model Tesla pioneered.

But Google has an ulterior motive…

Google’s Android Automotive on a Car’s Dashboard


Source: Google

You see, the average person spends nearly one hour per day in their car. That’s one hour per day of NOT viewing advertisements and NOT providing behavioral data to Google.

Google wants to change that… by getting in your car.

And the Android Automotive OS is the first step. By using the platform, Google will know your driving patterns… where you like to shop… where you like to eat… and even what music you like to listen to.

This behavioral data will help the company decide which digital ads to show you… And that’s the big picture for Android Automotive OS. This is really a precursor to Google’s self-driving initiatives.

When self-driving cars become prevalent in the next few years, people will have time to consume content in their car because they won’t be driving anymore. Google knows this… which is why it’s taking steps now to break into the automotive industry with the Android Automotive OS.

By engaging now, with this solution, it will put Google in a better position to sell its self-driving technology, which is currently under development at its Waymo subsidiary.

That’s what’s really happening here. Google sees your daily commute as a major untapped market for digital advertising, and a way to generate more advertising revenues from consumer behavior.

Untapped Market

There is a gold mine of behavioral data collected from our cars that’s just waiting to be sold to the highest bidders.

This is why Google has invested so heavily in its automotive software for both the infotainment module and, ultimately, self-driving car technology. Google will likely give the technology away for “free,” as long as it retains the right to sell the data collected.


Jeff Brown
Editor, Exponential Tech Investor

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