Toyota Motor Corporation announced that they have formed a strategic alliance to build Toyota Friend, a private social network for Toyota customers and their cars. Toyota Friend will be powered by Salesforce Chatter, a private social network used by businesses, and will be offered, first in Japan, initially with Toyota’s electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHV) due in 2012.
Under the new private social network, called “Toyota Friend”, owners will be able to “chat” with their Toyotas like they would with a friend on Twitter or Facebook. The car would have its own “profile” and send a message to the driver’s phone, for instance, reminding him to recharge its depleted battery. The owner would be able to carry out a simple, two-way conversation with the car.
The service would be an extension of Toyota’s network to be based on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform that would give customers across the world access to Toyota’s digital services such as GPS and multimedia. The service will be offered first in Japan with Toyota’s first battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid cars due next year, Toyota said.