Case Study 1

  • slide
  • slide
  • slide
  • slide
Client: Facebook
Task:
Skills:
At 800 million users and growing, Facebook is the world’s largest social network. Having already con- quered computers, smartphones and tablets, while becoming a daily habit for many users, Facebook is now invading the screens that remain: those of televisions and car dashboards.

At 800 million users and growing, Facebook is the world’s largest social network. Having already con- quered computers, smartphones and tablets, while becoming a daily habit for many users, Facebook is now invading the screens that remain: those of televisions and car dashboards.

Over the past 6 months a team of engineers from Mer- cedes-Benz, working in Palo Alto, California, has de- veloped an application that enables drivers to access Facebook from their car. The application is incorporat- ed into the new telematic system found in Mercedes- Benz cars, mbrace2, which offers a high-resolution screen in the dashboard and high-speed wireless Internet connection and can interact with the drivers’ mobile phone. Google and Yelp (a website which lo- cates and recommends nearby businesses) have also created applications for the system, which will be fea- tured in all 2013 models, including the SL Class.

The Facebook application is actually a simplified version of the social network, which has been spe- cially designed for drivers and is focused on locating friends and businesses. In order to prevent drivers
from becoming distracted while driving, Mercedes- Benz has blocked all functions that require typing while the car is running: it allows only basic function- ality. Facebook has provided pre-written phrases that can be published with a single push of a button. Likewise, social games such as those developed by Zynga have also been blocked.

On-deck information and entertainment applications have major market potential for the future; thus, automobile companies are working intensely to in- novate in this area. For instance, they are exploring the idea that, given how often we currently use GPS devices in our cars for directions, the ability to locate nearby friends may prove to be an interesting option for many drivers.
Although some people consider Facebook to be nothing more than an entertaining distraction, its use in cars may open up the way to Social Driving, and with it, all of the potential brought by obtaining new layers of information. Given Facebook’s ubiq- uity, the social network can even be thought of as a sort of social operating system.