Toyota, Microsoft beef up Gazoo.com Net service

Apr 26, 2013 by Yuri Kageyama

Toyota is teaming up with Microsoft for an Internet service that links cars, home computers and smartphones so users can find nearby tourist spots, connect on social networks and learn about new models.

The beefed up version of Toyota's Internet site Gazoo.com starts May 30 in Japan, and will be based on "cloud" computing from . called Windows Azure. Overseas plans are still undecided.

According to the U.S. , it is the first time the technology, which also uses Sharepoint software, is being used for a company site.

Gazoo.com users tripled over the last five years to 1.65 million. . said Friday it wants to raise that to 2 million over the next year.

All the world's major are working on similar technology to bring autos up-to-date with the Internet age, from finding restaurants to helping ensure safe driving.

But a major motive for Toyota is appealing to younger Japanese, who are rapidly losing interest in buying cars and are spending their money on smartphones and video games. The trend is so widespread there is a coined phrase, "kuruma banare," or "departure from cars."

Among the Net content in the works are video games, shopping-site links, virtual events and a special social network to chat about cars, according to Toyota. A smartphone application will guide drivers with an to 30,000 destinations from 250 routes.

The site will also offer information on more than 3,000 new and used models, including interviews with engineers.

Switching to Microsoft's cloud computing will cut costs for operating the services, although Toyota plans to invest more money in new content for Gazoo.com.

Toyota reached an agreement with Microsoft in April 2011, to work together on telematics, or for cars.

Toyota looked at other cloud computing services before picking Microsoft for the latest project, said Hiroyuki Yamada, an executive at e-Toyota, which looks over such technology.

It is unclear whether the site will really lead to car sales, but Toyota will be able to tap into data on consumer behavior, as well as try to revive Japanese people's fading interest in cars, he said.

Gazoo.com is the brainchild of Akio Toyoda, the president and grandson of Toyota's founder. Well versed in Internet technology, Toyoda was ahead of his time in foreseeing the importance of social networks and stressing how Toyota needs a presence in the blogosphere.

Toyota has a partnership with another U.S. cloud computing company, Salesforce.com, which runs a social network for Toyota plug-in hybrid owners so they can see how efficiently they have been driving and be alerted when their vehicle has recharged. Toyoda also pioneered that partnership.

Explore further: FX says overnight ratings becoming meaningless

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Microsoft to power Toyota cars on Internet highway

Apr 06, 2011

Microsoft and Toyota Motor Corp. (TMC) on Wednesday announced they will work together to infuse the Japanese auto maker's cars with digital capabilities hosted in the Internet "cloud."

Toyota to set up social networking service

May 23, 2011

Toyota is setting up a social networking service with the help of a U.S. Internet company and Microsoft so drivers can interact with their cars in ways similar to Twitter and Facebook.

Toyota unveils high-tech concept car ahead of show

Nov 28, 2011

Toyota's president unveiled a futuristic concept car resembling a giant smartphone to demonstrate how Japan's top automaker is trying to take the lead in technology at the upcoming Tokyo auto show.

Toyota taking orders in Japan for Prius plug-in

Nov 29, 2011

Toyota will begin taking orders Tuesday for the plug-in version of its hit Prius hybrid, announcing efficient mileage and a relatively affordable starting price of 3.2 million yen ($41,000), which comes down with green vehicle ...

Toyota, BMW strike green-car technology pact

Dec 01, 2011

Automakers Toyota and BMW on Thursday struck a partnership to share eco-friendly technologies, including in the joint development of lithium-ion batteries for next-generation electric cars, the companies said.

Recommended for you

Lenovo's smart glasses prototype has battery at neck

1 hour ago

China's PC giant Lenovo last week offered a peek at its Google Glass-competing smart glass prototype, further details of which are to be announced in October. Lenovo's glasses prototype is not an extreme ...

Google searches hold key to future market crashes

3 hours ago

A team of researchers from Warwick Business School and Boston University have developed a method to automatically identify topics that people search for on Google before subsequent stock market falls.

Amazon launches 3D printing store

3 hours ago

Amazon announced Monday the launch of an online store for 3D printed items to allow consumers to customize and personalize items like earrings, pendants, dolls and other objects.

User comments : 0