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Car dashboards get Nokia HERE without a phone in sight

Google might have a Kai but Nokia is driving Toyota

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Nokia's recently rebranded mapping platform HERE will be slipped in front of the wheel on Toyota cars from next year, staking a claim in the next mobile battleground.

The deal with Toyota only covers vehicles in Europe, Russia and the Middle East, for the moment, but should see cars packing Nokia's maps, and location-based advertising, rolling onto forecourts early next year as part of Toyota's Touch & Go platform.

Google has already grabbed dashboard space in US models from Kia and Hyundai, but the business will be a big one as cars all become connected (mandated across Europe by 2015) and drivers come to rely on their navigation system to tell them where they'd like to go as well as how to get there.

Nokia's platform, Nokia Local Search for Automotive, has the usual peer-reviewed recommendations and ratings, with businesses eventually able to buy their way into prominent placement, which is the point of the whole thing.

Peer-reviewed local search is generally considered to be the next big thing, and at its best it should enable good small businesses to compete with big chains that trade on their reputation for mediocre, but not bad, service. People eat in McDonalds because they know what they're going to get, not (generally) because they like it very much - and local recommendations should change that. Or not, as peer-review pioneer Yelp has demonstrated time and time again, notably being accused of extortion and seeing its reviewers taken to court.

But regardless of how good the reviews are, they're coming to dashboards everywhere, so car buyers will soon have a Nokia/Google choice to add to their options. ®

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