TomTom, the maker of personal and in-car navigation devices that just won a bidding war ($4.2 billion, 2.9 billion euros) with competitor Garmin for digital mapping provider TeleAtlas, has announced a partnership with Google. Google Maps will now give users the option to send maps or business listings to TomTom devices. Google (and Yahoo) already offer “send to car” for BMW and Mercedes cars. MapQuest has a similar deal with GM’s On Star telematics system.
Here’s a video demonstration of how it works:
According to Google, the system should be live now in the US, Europe, Middle East and African markets. But we’ve looked, and a “Send To GPS” option still doesn’t seem to be live despite appearing in the TomTom video. The screenshots below show how the “Send” link for a map item still only has an email option:
Personal navigation devices represent an interesting mobile alternative to cellphones for users to access content on the go. They are becoming much more than simply ways to get maps and directions. For example, the new Dash Express positions itself as an “open content platform” for third party developers. And Dash has content deals with Yahoo and Zillow, among others.
Consumers currently pay monthly fees for these devices. There is no advertising on them but they will eventually become ad and mobile commerce vehicles. Indeed, expect search and search advertising to eventually make their way onto these devices and into cars accordingly.