Volkswagen and Google today announced their partnership Smileage

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  • Volkswagen Smileage allows drivers to record and share their journeys, adding a little bit of fun to every trip, from daily commutes to holiday expeditions

Volkswagen of America and Google today announced their partnership on “Volkswagen Smileage,” a new social media application built using a suite of Google products and platforms. The app launches later this year and will allow people to record and share how much fun they’re having while on the road, through a new metric called “smileage.” Users can share their road trip experiences dynamically through photos, videos, and social commentary via interactive maps. In addition, Smileage users are rewarded for connecting with others that they encounter along the way, through a re-imagination of the classic “Punch Dub” game.

“Volkswagen owners have demonstrated to us again and again that they are a very active community of fans that love to talk about their cars and the roads they travel,”said Kevin Mayer, Vice President of Marketing, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “Now, thanks to our partnership with Google on building this new social media application, we have a way for them to do so while doing exactly what they enjoy: Being in their cars. Whether they’re taking the kids to soccer camp or setting off with friends on a weekend camping trip, Volkswagen Smileage gives them a way to connect and share their experiences with their friends, family, and others. What’s more, this app will be available to everyone and work with all cars, so everybody can have a little bit of VW in their life, regardless of what car they drive.”

How Volkswagen Smileage Works

The app measures the fun factor of each trip using a metric called smileage, based on signals such as weather, traffic, location, time, and social interactions; so, for example, a long drive on a sunny Saturday afternoon might accumulate more smileage than a morning commute in the snow. You can use it with any car, not just Volkswagen vehicles.

Smileage is a simple-to-use, smart phone-based application and web service, and will be made available first on Android phones. To start using Smileage, a driver simply needs to sign in with their Google account and ensure that their smart phone is synced with their car. If the driver chooses, the app can automatically connect each time the car is started.

Drivers can choose from “passive” or “active” modes in the app. Neither mode allows any driver interaction while on the road, but instead works seamlessly in the background. The app measures the fun factor of each trip using a metric called smileage, based on signals such as weather, traffic, location, time, and social interactions; so, for example, a long drive on a sunny Saturday afternoon might accumulate more smileage than a morning commute in the snow. You can use it with any car, not just Volkswagen vehicles.

For people who enjoy a more visual and real-time approach to documenting their travels on the road, the “Trip Mode” of Smileage can be used. This allows for a more customizable experience: A drive can be named, passengers can be tagged, and any photos and videos taken by passengers on the road can be automatically added to an interactive map. Users can chose to share this map with friends and family, allowing them to see the trip as it unfolds. Once the trip is over, Smileage will create a summary that a driver can share with whomever they choose, or keep entirely to themselves.

Volkswagen Smileage will be launched in beta in the coming months. Those interested in gaining early access can sign up at vw.com/smileage

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