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56VW introduces radically different new consumer site, draws mixed reviews

The one thing that is certain in life is change, especially in the fast-moving world of the internet. So it's not usually news when an automaker redesigns its website. However, Volkswagen of America just launched a major revamp of its site to try and make it a less intimidating way to research about and buy its cars. It's simple and clean, but the new look is drawing the ire of some few visitors because its minimalist design makes some information hard to find.

AddGoogle's Project Loon Uses High-Altitude Balloons In An Attempt To Spread Internet Access Across The Globe

Google hopes to bring the internet to more people around the world through the use of high-altitude balloons, the internet services giant announced Saturday. Google says that two out of every three people on earth are without a reliable internet connection. Project Loon, developed by the company's "top secret" Google[x] lab, looks to solve that problem.

36Video: What happens in an Internet car forum

A day in the life of an Internet car forum – Click above to watch video after the jump

64Is the Internet killing America's car culture?

The number of young drivers on the road these days is steadily declining, according to research compiled by Automotive News, and while that may mean you're less likely to get into a fender bender with a high school sophomore, it may also spell bad news for the automotive industry. The article says that in 1978, around half of all 16 year-olds and three-quarters of all 17 year-olds had their driver's licenses. Fast forward to 2008, and those numbers have dropped off to 31 percent and 49 percent,

25GM to offer in-vehicle WiFi on select models

Everywhere connectivity is even closer with the announcement that GM will be offering dealer-installed Autonet routers in its SUV and truck offerings. Chrysler was the first to put Autonet in cars a year ago, and Volkswagen signed up in August of this year, putting the mobile router docking station in its Routan. The Autonet kit is available this month for installs in the GMC, Chevrolet, Buick, and Cadillac lineups, or you can order it on GM's accessories site.

4SAE launches new bookstore and e-Books for on-the-go engineers

The Society of Automotive Engineers has decided to apply the same forward thinking to its web site it has to its information. Borrowing ideas from the iTunes Store and Amazon, the SAE has revamped its bookstore for easier navigation and added an eBook store for engineers on the go.

44Chrysler's What's New 2008: uConnect web w/VIDEO

Click above to view a video of Chrysler's uConnect in action.

40We say BMW, you say...

So here we have the kind of real-time social engagement that the Internet originally promised us. A site called Brandtag allows you to enter a 1-word attribute for a brand -- like "quattro" for Audi -- and then creates a page with the popularity of any brand identifier denoted by its size on the page relative to every other tag used, i.e. a tag cloud. For instance, one of the biggest words on the Ferrari page is "red," while one of the (many) smallest words is "viagra."

9Saturn dealers take e-tailing to the next level

Back in the 90s, many automakers tried to cut dealerships out of the business equation by selling cars online, but OEMs found out that selling vehicles wasn't as easy as it looked. Since then, automakers have stuck to supporting its dealers on the web, and Saturn plans to take online shopping to the next level. Ten Saturn dealers are participating in a pilot that will give customers the ability to spend less time inside the dealership by using the Internet to apply for credit, schedule a test dr

28iDrive via IP? - BMW uses Internet Protocol underhood

There's a variety of flavors of in-car networking standards that corral the large number of embedded computers and nodes present in the modern automobile. BMW Research and Technology, an R&D division of BMW, has found Internet Protocol up to the tasks that the other standards currently perform. BMW engineers used a standard PC and connected it up to the expected gear -- ECUs, engine and chassis control systems, even a multimedia server for the entertainment system. The reasoning behind using

28Pontiac puts its faith in the internet

Pontiac has been revamping its brand, cutting the ass-ugly (Aztek, Montana) and adding the badass (G8, Solstice GXP). There's a strong desire to shift the median buyer age down. The effort's already underway, and has seen some success thus far, but Pontiac wants the coveted younger buyer. In the interest of getting the Pontiac name in front of their intended buyer, the division is actually cutting back on traditional advertising efforts. Huh? Well, how many 20-somethings do you know who watch Da

6Close the sale online with AutoNation

Every automaker has its web presence set up where you can sort of shop for a car. It gets a little difficult when you actually go to get a price quote – you'll get directed to a selection of local dealers, some more willing to deal than others – it's enough to make you wish for a "Buy It Now" button. AutoNation's testing pretty much that very idea at an Atlanta location. The experience doesn't differ much from what's already available at automotive sales websites. You can browse inve

6VW busted for scamming Google search, gets off easy

Both Volkswagen and Google have responded to criticism that the automaker's web pages were in violation of Google's quality guidelines. The uproar centers around hidden keywords in flash-based pages.

10Slacker brings internet radio into your car

It's like Pandora for your car! Slacker, a new web-based radio website has just launched this week. The channel selection is very similar to what's available on XM or Sirius, and we liken it to Pandora because the number of songs you can skip is limited, but the selection is large and the experience is flexible and customizeable. The website alone is a nice little diversion anywhere you've got a browser and bandwidth, but the exciting news is that there will soon be an iPod-like device so you ca

5AutoNet Mobile rocking wi-fi in your car

For those of you confined to a movable cubicle, having a wireless internet connection within your mobile office would be a Godsend. Autonet has recognized this need and developed, what the company maintains is, the first in-car ISP, allowing any wireless devices within your vehicle to be hooked up the World Wide Web. The unit will set you back $399 and a monthly fee of $50 will hook you up with Verizon's EV-DO network. Initially, the product will be launched in the spring of 2007 in AVIS rental

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