Google has said at CES that they plan to work with at least one car maker to try and work Google Earth as an in-car navigation system. Frank over at Google Earth has pretty much said all the reasons why it won’t be happening soon if at all. While I’m sure they could figure out a way to navigate easily with a touch screen rather than a mouse, but that isn’t the biggest problem as I see it. Anyone who has a car with a navigation system knows that the maps they generate are very simple and this is by design. Trying to view a map while traveling 60 MPH is hard enough without having satellite images in the background. These maps are designed to be viewed with a quick glance and I just don’t see how that would be possible with satellite imagery. Of course Google Earth could serve up Google Maps (though they would have to be simplified for ease of use in a car), but then why bother with Google Earth?
What I expect to happen with the future of Navigation is for companies such as XM Radio and Sirius to offer Navigation as part of their service. My wife’s Acura already has both XM Radio and Navigation, so why not combine them? Stream the maps down via their satellites. XM already has begun to roll out such a product (though it isn’t a stand alone product, yet) and since both Sirius and XM have contracts with car manufacturers already, they have a leg up on any companies such as Google, Yahoo and Micosoft who would like to break into that market.
The future of in-car navigation is in XM’s and Sirius’s hands so if GYM want to be part of it, they need to either partner up, or get out the checkbook and buy either one of them.