If you’re used to regularly updating your Facebook page, being stuck behind the wheel driving is the last place you want to be.

I mean, c’mon, how else are you supposed to know that one of your friends has changed their relationship status from “In a Relationship” to “Single” and be able to weigh in on it and share with another friend via texting.

Sure, it might seem trivial for some, but the fact is that Facebook and texting have become a way of life for so many Americans.  In fact, the social networking platform has more than 500 million active users, which is why OnStar is exploring innovations that would enable drivers to use the technology in-car.

If implemented, Audio Facebook Updates would allow OnStar subscribers to verbally update their Facebook status message through audio recordings and/or listen to their most recent news feed messages through the OnStar Virtual Advisor service.

OnStar has also revealed beta tests for voice-based SMS (short message service).  The feature would enable customers to have their text messages read to them using Bluetooth.

The Bluetooth technology allows users to connect their mobile device to their vehicle and receive automated text messages. With one button press on the steering wheel, users can reply to a text by verbally selecting a preset response.

It’s part of OnStar’s aggressive efforts to expand the capabilities and technology for its nearly six million subscribers as part of a top-to-bottom realignment of the company’s long-term strategy built around “responsible connectivity.”

“These initiatives are all about OnStar’s role in keeping drivers and passengers connected and safe,” said OnStar president Chris Preuss.  “Building on the rock-solid foundation of OnStar’s safety and security platform, we were given a clear directive to develop OnStar as one of the chief pillars in defining General Motors’ business going forward.”

“With the extremely high awareness and respect for the OnStar brand, we’ve created a long-term vision that includes new in-vehicle hardware, an all-new IT infrastructure and a host of new partnerships and services that provide the basis for growth.”

The new technology was unveiled at simultaneous events held in New York, Austin, San Francisco and Miami to relaunch the OnStar brand.

OnStar also announced the OnStar MyLink sub-brand for mobile phone applications.

The mobile apps powered by OnStar will allow Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac owners to remotely activate all functions available on a traditional key fob, including remote start, horn and lights and door locks and unlocks securely from select smartphones.

Versions have already been shown for the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range capability and the all-new Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan.

How’s all that for staying connected?  — M. Amick

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