I don’t want to talk to my car

I’ve been seeing a lot of advertisements for cars that feature voice recognition technology. Like this clever one for Ford’s SYNC:

Or this one for the Ford Focus:

I enjoy these commercials, but I’m not buying what they’re selling. SYNC might be cool, and it could even save my life by automatically dialing 911 after an accident.The thing is, I could talk to my car too if I wanted to. But I don’t. I’d feel like a complete jackass talking to my car. Is that weird?

This reminds me of some focus groups I helped run about six years ago when I was working for Vodafone. We had people evaluate a variety of smart phones and PDA devices, using them to interact with various applications, send and receive text messages and just make phone calls. People appeared to love the PDAs for their big screens and QWERTY keyboards, but when all was said and done, these were their least favorite devices.

The big displays, keyboards and loads of cool features were all trumped by the fact that people felt stupid holding these big clunky gadgets up to their ears while making phone calls.