Yesterday, we told you about some new features that will soon come to General Motors' OnStar, including predictive diagnostics and driving assessment. But as Steve Jobs used to say, there's one more thing: OnStar is also getting a shopping service that connects drivers with nearby deals, parking, hotel rooms, and other offerings.
In keeping with the 21st-century's aversion to spaces between words, OnStar's new feature is called AtYourService. In a press release, AtYourService is described as: "a commerce and engagement offering that connects drivers with retailers and merchants on their drive, providing information, convenience and money-saving values tied to their specific destinations".
It works like this: say you're on vacation, and you're looking for something to eat. Ask OnStar to locate some grub, and after pinpointing your location, AtYourService will tap partners like RetailMeNot and Entertainment Book to find good deals nearby.
AtYourService can also dig up shopping coupons, information about parking availability, and even track down audiobooks for that long, long road trip. And thanks to an arrangement with Priceline, it can book hotel rooms for you, too.
AtYourService seems like a pretty sweet offering for OnStar subscribers. Who needs Groupon when OnStar can find deals that are applicable right now and within a short drive?
It also seems like a great opportunity for GM. AtYourService will likely be very attractive to consumers and encourage more OnStar subscriptions, but just as importantly, it will also generate advertising revenue for GM as Priceline and other companies pay for the privilege of being featured on AtYourService.
We admit, when we first heard the news, part of us felt as if AtYourService crossed a line, bringing ads to the quiet interiors of our cars. Then we listened to FM radio, and remembered that the driver's seat has always been a commercial space.
Details about AtYourService's roll-out are still a bit fuzzy, but it appears as if elements of the service will be available to U.S. and Canadian OnStar subscribers later this year. Stay tuned.