Google-Backed BMW Search Launches

    September 16, 2008

BMWs have long been able to outhandle and overpower most other cars on any given road.  Now, the owners of some 2009 BMWs will lose their last excuse for being late, as the automaker has teamed up with Google Maps to create BMW Search.

An official release explains that users can look for anything from full addresses to lone keywords.  The service determines their current location, "and then displays the local results with details of address, phone number and distance.  For example, you can look up business information like the names of restaurants, hotels, service stations, banks, supermarkets, cinemas and public facilities such as schools or city halls . . ."

The only catches: just the 1 and 3 series will be paired with this feature at the start.  Also, in addition to having to buy a BMW in the first place, would-be users will have to opt for a nav system and fork over $199 per year for the BMW Assist Convenience Plan.  So BMW Search isn’t exactly a widespread standard feature.

Still, since this tech had its start in Germany and spread throughout Europe some time ago, it’s nice to see it reach the U.S. in any form.  Assuming owners use the option at all, it’s bound to be offered in conjunction with more BMW models, and other companies (Mercedes and Yahoo, for example) should release similar things.