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Ford is bringing Google and Apple to your next car

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor

Ford wants the next car in your driveway to be as intelligent as the smartphone in your pocket by offering Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay for all of its 2017 vehicles.

That’s right. Soon you’ll be able to ask Google where the nearest McDonald’s is and check with Siri to see how many calories are in a Big Mac (563) — all while doing sick burnouts in your new Mustang GT.

Ford is bringing Android Auto and CarPlay to its vehicles via its new Sync 3 infotainment system. I tried out an early version of Sync 3 in 2014 and found the updated version of Ford’s in-dash console far easier to navigate and understand than previous iterations of Sync.

Ford organized the original Sync system by breaking the main touchscreen display into four quadrants: Entertainment, Navigation, Climate and Phone. The whole interface was confusing to say the least. On top of that the system was slow to respond to user inputs, making things like searching for addresses incredibly annoying.

Sync 3, on the other hand, is not only faster; it’s also easier to navigate. The setup focuses on larger text and windows that make the system far more intuitive.

In addition to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Ford is bringing over-the-air Wi-Fi updates to its vehicles. That means if you need to update your Sync 3 system to get a new feature, you’ll simply have to connect to your home’s Wi-Fi system.

Adding Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is an interesting decision by Ford, though, which has put a lot of effort into building its own in-car infotainment ecosystem. With access to Android Auto and CarPlay, drivers will be less incentivized to use the actual Sync 3 interface.

For my money, Android Auto is the best in-car infotainment system I’ve used to-date. It’s fast, easy to use and offers the best navigation software around: Google Maps.

Either way, Ford is giving you the choice of the system you want to use behind the wheel. Just don’t forget to keep your eyes on the road.

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Email Dan Howley at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.