Honda & Google Earth: Sifting fact from wishful thinking

Most of the re-reporting around the web regarding Honda’s integration of its road congestion data with Google Earth assumes (Engadget certainly does) that Google Earth will find its way into the Honda Civic’s dashboard. That’s not actually what the original report states, based on this Japanese press release, translated into English. Just the facts, then:

Honda Civics in Japan can wirelessly upload telematics data to a central location as part of something called the InterNavi Floating Car System. This aggregated data is then used to determine road congestion in near real time, which is made available to the dashboards of drivers who are members of the “InterNavi Premium Club“, to help them choose the best route. The press release says this data is now also available (to members only) as a Google Earth network link from the Internavi Premium website.

That is certainly innovative in that it constitutes a whole new take on collaborative content for Google Earth, but it is empatically not about putting Google Earth into Civics. It’s about letting you play with the data in Google Earth. (You could of course run this network link off your laptop with Google Earth in your car if you have a 3G modem.)

In other words, Volkswagen has nothing to be worried about. (I wonder if the Volkswagen Google Earth dashboard will be able to load user-submitted network links and overlays. If so, it could theoretically upload Honda’s congestion data:-)