Motor Trend raised concerns about Google's Android Auto data collection policies, but the company stood up in defense of the application.
Computers are becoming more closely connected with our automobiles, which is a great thing. They can give us directions, alert us of traffic up ahead, and communicate with the vehicle to display issues and maintenance needs in an instant. But are they collecting personal data while you’re driving?
According to a report from the Verge, Google recently came under fire from Motor Trend, which raised concerns about the company’s Android Auto software and the information it was saving. Google responded swiftly, saying that they do not collect the data alleged in the Motor Trend article.
Users have the option of sending information back to Google, which it says will help them improve the driving experience. The Motor Trend article alleged that Android Auto collected the car’s throttle position, oil temperature, and coolant temperature. Google claims that it only gathers enough information to allow the system to operate hands-free while the vehicle is in motion, as well as preferred routes for its GPS system.
The article blamed Google’s data collection methods for Porsche’s decision to use Apple’s CarPlay software instead in its new 911 Carrera and 911 Carrera S models. Google did not address this claim directly, despite the fact that Porsche and its parent company Volkswagen routinely install Android Auto in certain models.
Google says the data sharing settings on Android Auto are no different from those on standard Android phones. While setting up the software, Google prompts users to choose specifically what types of information they would like to share.
In contrast to the data Google could potentially collect from Android Auto-equipped cars, Apple’s CarPlay only collects a single piece of information – whether or not the car is in motion. This allows the software to limit the features a driver is able to access while underway, to minimize the risk of distraction. Carrying a computer onboard can offer numerous benefits, but questions are still raised about the safety of interacting with software while driving. Google’s hands-free interface may allow for more functionality, but Apple’s CarPlay ensures that you are unable to access certain features while driving on the road. Both systems interact with their respective companies’ mobile phones.