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Tech Feature Friday: Internet-Connected Search in a Toyota Prius V

Forget DVDs or even hard-disk navigation databases -- connected local search is the future.

By Douglas Newcomb Jul 13, 2012 6:41AM

Bing App on Toyota Entune System. Photo by Toyota.When you need to find something these days -- an address, a restaurant, information about an event -- you probably do it via online search. You could always check the Yellow Pages, a map or the newspaper; however, technology has made those types of physical media practically obsolete, since they’re outdated as soon as they leave the printing press. Businesses move, roads change and events are canceled.

Most in-car navigation systems haven’t kept up with the times and still use a static database on a DVD or hard disk, although this is starting to change. An example is the Bing* local search feature that’s part of the Entune system on some Toyota models. Using the driver's tethered smartphone, the system goes online to perform an Internet-connected search to find almost anything you’d want -- from a lighting-repair store to a local diner.

Unlike the Pandora Internet radio part of the Entune system, which I found difficult to use in a 2012 Prius V, the Bing search feature works excellently. You simply punch in the name of the point of interest you’re looking for and the system searches the Internet and finds it -- more often than not, in my experience. Then you can get more info on what you're looking for, or have the car’s navigation system route you to it. It’s the future, but it’s here now in some cars like the Toyota Prius V.

(*Editor's note: In the interest of full disclosure, even though it's fairly apparent, Bing is owned by Microsoft, which likewise is the entity under which MSN Autos and Exhaust Notes are run.)

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