Volkswagen and Google launch SmileDrive Android app to make insufferable commutes sufferable video

It surely isn't the first time we've seen a quirky automaker look to the smartphone in order to add a bit of pizazz to the morning drive -- Mini owners far and wide have plenty of inside jokes when it comes to the Mini Connected app. That being said, SmileDrive might just have the market cornered when it comes to all-out joviality. The free app, which was launched today by Volkswagen of America and Google, is presently only available for Android devices. (And yes, it's a result of Google's Art, Copy & Code project.) In a nutshell, it connects to any vehicle via Bluetooth (yes, Fiats and Ferraris as well) and runs in the background while a drive is ongoing. Once the wheels have stopped and the ignition has been switched off, it uses factors like location, distance, time and weather to deliver users their Smile Score and awards them with stickers -- think of 'em as Foursquare badges for motorists.

On a longer road trip, SmileDrive offers the ability to create a Smilecast: a dynamic travelogue filled with the captured photos, maps of the trip, status updates, as well as other memories that are collected on a single URL. It all sounds pretty fantastic, if we're honest, but allow us to offer up a tip: make sure you phone's plugged into a charger. Wouldn't want that background action to drain too much of your battery, now would you?

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Volkswagen and Google launch SmileDrive Android app