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Mercedes-Benz to unveil in-vehicle app integration: Facebook, Yelp, and more

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Mercedes-Benz will be announcing new Facebook, Google, and Yelp integration this week at CES.

Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Facebook users that would rather not juggle their smartphone while driving will soon have a new option: Mercedes-Benz will be announcing a new telematics system at CES tomorrow that will include app integration with the social media giant. Both Facebook and the car maker spoke with Reuters, who reports that the new system will utilize a high-resolution screen mounted in the dashboard and a built-in high-speed wireless connection. Drivers will be able to post a variety of pre-written status updates from the road, though all text-entry tasks are apparently locked when the vehicle is in motion. Users will also be able to share travel route details and estimated times of arrival, and see whether friends — or locations they've visited — are in the vicinity.

The app is part of MB's new "mbrace2" system, which is said to also include apps for Google and Yelp. Of course, this isn't the first time online services have been brought to the automobile: BMW offers limited integration with Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp, and Chevy made waves last year with a Super Bowl ad touting OnStar's ability to read status updates. While Mercedes' solution is definitely a step towards more robust functionality, the notion of drivers fiddling with knobs to post updates is sure to raise some concerns. Robert Policano, Product Manager for Mercedes-Benz's Telematics Services, tells Reuters not to worry — that the new service isn't any more distracting than using a GPS or car radio. We'll find out when the feature rolls out in 2013, starting with the SL-Class Mercedes.