Volkswagen and Google announced the beta launch of SmileDrive™, the first app designed to maximize fun on every trip. The beta version of the app is available to download exclusively in the Google Play store.
“A lot of time is spent in the car today, whether it is for the daily commute to work or setting off with friends and family on a weekend camping trip,” said Kevin Mayer, Vice President of Marketing at Volkswagen of America. “We wanted to provide a way for consumers to add a little more flare to their road trips and a way to share the good times in their VW's with their friends.” SmileDrive connects to a user’s car—any kind of car—through Bluetooth® wireless technology, and runs in the background to track data for both everyday commutes and road trips. After a drive is complete, the app uses factors like location, distance, time and weather to deliver users their Smile Score and awards them with “stickers,” i.e. virtual bumper stickers, for unique accomplishments earned while out and about. The app has also re-imagined the classic “PunchDub” game, allowing people to collect “punches” each time they encounter another Volkswagen running using the app. Drivers cannot interact with the app, nor receive any notifications, while the car is in motion.
On a longer road trip, SmileDrive offers the ability to create a Smilecast: a dynamic travelogue filled with the captured photos, maps of the trip, status updates, as well as other memories that are collected on a single URL. Through the URL, friends and family can view the Smilecast after the trip has ended.
SmileDrive was conceived as part of Google’s ongoing Art, Copy & Code project, which focuses on reimagining brand experiences for the connected world. “We’re exploring how brands can connect to consumers through a whole range of digital tools, whether that’s through ads, mobile apps, or experiences,” said Aman Govil, Art, Copy & Code Project Lead at Google. “Cars can be conduits to amazing life experiences, as much as they get us from point A to B. SmileDrive aims to capture these moments, making drives a more social and sharable experience.”