New Fiat 500 ‘Hey Google’ Edition Brands Car as Google Assistant on Wheels
Fiat has partnered with Google to release a new ‘Hey Google’ version of the Fiat 500, integrating deeply with Google Assistant. The new car heavily promotes Google’s branding to the point where the name Fiat appears secondary to the hyping up of the Google integration.
Google or Fiat
The most obvious indication that Fiat is a fan of Google is the widespread branding across and within the car. The Google Assistant logo is embedded above the turn signals, and Google’s famous blue, green, red, and yellow dot design is on the seats and the door panels. The dots are actually Braille, spelling out Google on the car’s seats. The hatchback car runs Android Auto, but offers more of a connection to Google Assistant than just the standard smartphone-based operating system for drivers. Google Assistant connects with the Fiat Mopar Connect system so that owners can use the My Fiat Google Action to check on the car’s gas level, switch the lights on or off, and other commands using Google Assistant on smartphones or with Google Nest smart speakers. The ”Hey Google’ Edition is available only in parts of Europe for the 500, 500X and 500L models.
“For me, having a car has always been about more than driving. I like the way a car can reflect my style, and make my life easier. That’s why I was personally very intrigued when the Fiat team approached us,” Google Italy country marketing director Vincenzo Riili said in a blog post about the car. “They wanted to see if we could work together to make the iconic Fiat 500 respond to people’s needs even better, even when they aren’t behind the wheel. The result of that work is the new Fiat 500 Family Hey Google, a special edition of the historic, yet very modern Fiat 500.”
What’s especially notable about the partnership is that Fiat Chrysler only a few months ago became the first company to use Alexa Custom Assistant to construct a voice assistant. Fiat had first begun integrating Alexa with its Uconnect 5 operating system last year, but now was planning to offer a fully customized voice assistant supported by the same technology as Alexa. That relationship apparently doesn’t preclude making the most “Google” of vehicles since the Google Maps van. The branding also seems to take a page from Alexa in its deal with Buick. A Buick car commercial last fall took an only half-joking position that Alexa defines its cars more than the Buick name, with various people arguing over whether a car driving by is a Buick or an Alexa.