Ford signs six-year deal with Google and equips future cars with Android

Ford and Google have entered into a six-year deal. Future Ford and Lincoln cars will be equipped with Google services from 2023. The infotainment systems of such cars will from then on use Android. Ford will also use Google Cloud.

Ford said in a press release that “millions of Ford and Lincoln vehicles in all price ranges” will use Android Automotive by 2023. This is the successor to Android Auto and works as a complete operating system for vehicles, without the need for a smartphone. That was still the case with Android Auto. Ford provides its future cars with various Google apps and services as standard. The company mentions, among other things, integration with the Google Assistant, the use of Google Maps as navigation software and Google Play for downloading additional apps.

The automaker also names Google Cloud as its preferred cloud provider. The company will use Google’s cloud service for analytics and other purposes. Ford cites modernizing product development, manufacturing, managing its supply chain and using artificial intelligence to train its workforce as possible use cases of Google Cloud. Ford could also use the cloud service to send customers real-time notifications about maintenance or trade-in options for their cars, the company said.

To implement the plans, Ford and Google are establishing ‘Team UpShift’. Employees from both companies will be part of it and work together on future projects. Google and Ford will not disclose how much money will be involved in the deal. According to American news medium CNBC, it concerns ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’.

Ford isn’t the first automaker to partner with a major tech company. Earlier, General Motors, which owns Chevrolet and Buick, among others, signed a deal with Microsoft. That deal was worth two billion dollars and focuses on developing self-driving cars. Microsoft also previously worked with Ford; the two companies worked together on the first versions of Sync, the software system used in the manufacturer’s cars, although that collaboration has already ended.

With the deal, Google will win a new, relatively large customer for its Cloud division. The company is currently lagging behind companies such as Amazon and Microsoft in terms of market share. Canalys estimated in October 2020 that Amazon Web Services currently has a 32 percent market share in this market. According to that analyst firm, Microsoft Azure is good for 19 percent and Google would have a market share of 7 percent.