As Google continues to research and develop, test, and polish their self-driving cars, so too must they continue to cozy up to carmakers for partnerships on internet-powered vehicles. However exciting the thought of a self-driving car may be, not everyone shares the sentiments of seeing these technological advancements, as a new concern that Google's self-driving cars will serve up ads has been brought up by Audi CEO Rupert Stadler during a recent auto industry event in Germany. Stadler believes the car for many people acts as a "second living room" and he sees it as a more private place for people. His concern is that Google's possible use of ads within vehicles powered by Google's technology and software would effectively strip away this privacy.
In that regard, loss of privacy would depend on how one feels about ads. When you think about it though, even in the car we can't get away from ads even without Google's technology baked in. Billboards are plastered everywhere in larger cities, and just about every single radio station plays an ad or two in between songs. Those are of course, on a different level from the kind of contextualized, personal targeted ads which come from Google. In a statement from Stadler, he mentions that "customers want to be at the center of their car ownership, not exploited for it," elaborating that people want control of their data. This is not so untrue, and for a company like Google who has built their business off of ads, it's not shocking to see concerns from top auto industry execs like Stadler that Google's self-driving cars might be heavy handed with advertisements.
Google's business is essentially ads, so why wouldn't they want to find a way to seamlessly work in ads with their technology. How Google approaches this subject when the self-driving car project is further along remains to be seen, but it shouldn't surprise anyone if advertisements play a role in daily car trips whether it be across town or out of state. Another question users will have to ask themselves is whether or not they care so much about ads being served up by the vehicle. Users who aren't driving may have a tendency to be playing with their smartphones or another mobile device(should they have one) where there will most certainly be ads present already, so is it a bigger deal if they're present in another form? All of this may be irrelevant at the moment as there's no complete certainty what Google's plans are on this front, but it does raise some good questions.