New tech can run your car's infotainment system for you

If you've ever listened to CDs or digital music on a car or the computer, you've already encountered Gracenote -- even if this is the first time you've heard of the name. Gracenote recognizes tracks as they're played and displays the title, artist, and (for newer auto infotainment systems) even the album art. Now Gracenote has launched a brand new product for in-dash systems called "Entourage," which is a completely different entity from the company's Automatic Content Recognition System for TV with the same name. Entourage for cars was developed to augment your streaming and internet radio apps -- it's not an app itself, but rather a technology that infotainment systems can use. A company spokesperson gave this scenario to GigaOM as an example: when you hear a particular song playing on FM radio, you can tell your car's dashboard loaded with Entourage to create playlists across all your apps, or even in just one of them, like Pandora.

It has many other capabilities that infotainment makers can add to their products (above, you'll see a mockup of what an Entourage-powered music console could look like), but we won't be able to test any of them out until the technology debuts in 2017 car models. Right now, Gracenote is already working with Ford to integrate an Entourage-based service to its in-dash system that can analyze weeks, even months, of music you've been listening to. The service will then compare the songs against your driving behavior and environmental conditions at the time, in order to create customized radio stations or playlists based on your moods.