Ford and Google announced a 6-year Cloud deal that will make the tech giant responsible for much of the automaker’s growing in-vehicle connectivity. Google will also provide cloud computing and other technology services.
The partnership with Google is designed to streamline Ford’s operations and accelerate an ongoing $11 billion restructuring plan.
Google lags behind rivals Amazon and Microsoft in market share. Amazon held 45 percent share and Microsoft had 18 percent in 2019, leaving Google with 5 percent, according to estimates from technology industry research company Gartner.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, said: “We’re proud to partner to apply the best of Google’s AI, data analytics, compute and cloud platforms to help transform Ford’s business and build automotive technologies that keep people safe and connected on the road.”
Ford and Lincoln vehicles will sport Android, the Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Play starting in 2023, and Google’s cloud will enable other types of services. For instance, Google said Ford is looking to use the tech giant’s cloud to enable a system for sending customers messages about maintenance or trade-in opportunities, CNBC reported.
Google will help Ford use artificial intelligence in areas such as supply chain logistics and manufacturing, the companies said.
Despite automakers like Ford spending significant capital to develop such systems, consumers have moved toward using Google’s Android Auto or Apple’s CarPlay programs while driving, according to industry groups such a J.D. Power. The programs mirror phone apps on in-vehicle infotainment screens, providing a more familiar interface for drivers.
Ford’s largest rival, General Motors, announced a deal in 2019 to integrate Google’s voice assistant and app ecosystem into its vehicles beginning this year.
Employees from Google and Ford will be part of a group called Team UpShift, which will use Google’s services and data expertise to better streamline Ford’s operations and create a more seamless experience for customers, Farley said.
Farley said Ford analyzed several companies before choosing Google. He said the automaker liked Google’s cloud services – an increasingly important technology for automakers as they begin updating vehicles remotely.
In the third quarter of 2020, Google parent Alphabet said cloud revenue, including contributions from Google Workspace productivity software, was $3.44 billion, or 7 percent of revenue, while Amazon’s Web Services cloud division generated $11.60 billion in revenue.