Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

“Makes You Wonder”

Jonny Lieberman of Motor Trend, on the new Porsche 911’s entertainment system, which only supports CarPlay and omits Android Auto:

As part of the agreement an automaker would have to enter with Google, certain pieces of data must be collected and mailed back to Mountain View, California. Stuff like vehicle speed, throttle position, coolant and oil temp, engine revs — basically Google wants a complete OBD2 dump whenever someone activates Android Auto.

This is the typical “collect everything” mantra that Google seems to have. By contrast, CarPlay only requires knowledge of when the car is moving, presumably for safety features. Could Android Auto one day use all of this information to diagnose system problems? Perhaps. Do I trust Google to collect, store, and use this much information in a way that isn’t creepy? No. Do you?

How about we instead treat data like nuclear waste?

Update: Google provided a statement to TechCrunch:

Steering this story straight – we take privacy very seriously and do not collect the data the Motor Trend article claims such as throttle position, oil temp and coolant temp. Users opt in to share information with Android Auto that improves their experience, so the system can be hands-free when in Drive, and provide more accurate navigation through the car’s GPS.


TechCrunch learned that when Google initially approached automakers concerning Android Auto, it requested a deeper data set than what is currently required. Porsche could have made the decision at that time to stop working with Google and instead focus on CarPlay. It’s unclear when this early conversation happened. Google publicly announced Android Auto at Google I/O in June of 2014.

Nobody’s providing any dates here. If Google’s policy did, in fact, change, how recently? And are automakers that signed with Google prior to the change grandfathered into providing elevated amounts of data?