Are Facebook and Ford teaming up to make a social automobile?

The Ford Evos concept car, unveiled in 2011, integrated "social" features into the driving experience. But what's the next step? See more Concept Car Pictures.
Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

If you live some place where a car is essential for getting around, then you know just how much of your time can get sucked up in transit. That's time that, if you weren't stuck behind the wheel, you could be doing more fun or productive things: like scarfing down a juicy burger with both hands, showing some affection toward the person seated next to you...or perhaps most importantly these days, updating your status on Facebook.

Let's be clear, here. Fiddling with social media sites is the last thing you want to do while operating a motor vehicle. It could, in fact, actually be the last thing you do -- distracted driving is the culprit in 1 out of 6 fatal crashes [source: NHTSA].

But what if there was a way you could drive and get your Facebook fix on safely, automatically? Such a thing could be a reality in the not-so-distant future. We've written about how the Ford Evos concept car, unveiled in 2011, integrated "social" features into the driving experience. For instance, you could have your car wirelessly push an update to your friends about a particularly fun driving route to take (or maybe a lousy one that they should probably avoid).

And Facebook, as we know, hasn't been too shy about its plans for global online domination -- which it intends to achieve by being available any place there's a screen in front of your face.

So just what is going on? Is Ford working on a social media-augmented car with Facebook? After all, the two companies have been awfully chummy with one another publicly. They even went so far as to hold a nerdgasmically cool "Hackathon," starring engineers from each company in early 2012. When General Motors said it would be pulling its $10 million Facebook advertising budget in May of the same year because of disappointing results, Ford tweeted a nose-tweaking response to its automotive rival:

"It's all about the execution. Our Facebook ads are effective when strategically combined with engaging content & innovation," a Ford exec wrote in apparent reference to the flap [source: Bomey].

In the pantheon of poor judgment, in-vehicle social media might seem at first to rank right up there with invading Russia in winter, or wagering your 401(k) against IBM's Deep Blue in a game of chess. Like we mentioned, there's that itty-bitty "safety" thing to concern ourselves with. But let's just say, for the sake of argument, the engineers could find a way around that? How cool would it be if there was an app that allowed a group of friends in separate cars to find a couple of empty parking spaces near one another? Even in a busy downtown area, at mid-day?