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  1. #1
    Established Member Two Rings rgobantes23's Avatar
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    Google Earth ending December 2020 for 2018 models or older

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    I am starting to enjoy Google Earth on the MMI and virtual cockpit but I have just learned that Google Earth will stop functioning on 2018 models or earlier by the end of 2020. I wish I would have known this information before I ordered my 2018 SQ5. I could have waited 8/9 months for MY19 and will receive the latest MMI/virtual cockpit hardware and the black optics package.

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    Last edited by rgobantes23; 03-15-2018 at 05:08 PM.
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  2. #2
    Audi Customer Experience Three Rings Audi USA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgobantes23 View Post
    I am starting to enjoy Google Earth on the MMI and virtual cockpit but I have just learned that Google Earth will stop functioning on 2018 models or earlier by the end of 2020. I wish I would have known this information before I ordered my 2018 SQ5. I could have waited 8/9 months for the MY19 and will receive the latest MMI/virtual cockpit hardware and the black optics package.

    Hello rgobantes23,

    Yes, you are correct Audi vehicles were initially manufactured to support Google Earth, but Google has since created a new software update in which the hardware in older vehicles will no longer be compatible with. Audi has taken steps to manufacture hardware that is compatible with the new software in MY19 and newer vehicles, but MY18 and older will no longer be able to use the Google Earth functionality as of December 31, 2020. I apologize for the inconvenience as I know this is frustrating, but please let me know if there's any other questions.

    Thank you,
    Vincenzo F.

    Audi Social Community Manager

  3. #3
    Established Member Two Rings rgobantes23's Avatar
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    Hello Vincenzo. I still don't understand why the current microprocessor and video chip on MY18 (all-new) vehicles will altogether be outdated by the end of 2020. Older laptops with less powerful microprocessors will most likely still able to access Google Maps with 3D satellite data.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Audizine mobile app
    Last edited by rgobantes23; 03-21-2018 at 05:47 PM.
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    Established Member Two Rings ThetaB8A4's Avatar
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    So am I understanding the right.. the car I pickup up last week, that took 7 months to receive will not have a working map in two years? Or is this just the traffic update system on the maps?
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    Senior Member Two Rings
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThetaB8A4 View Post
    So am I understanding the right.. the car I pickup up last week, that took 7 months to receive will not have a working map in two years? Or is this just the traffic update system on the maps?
    There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding Google Earth vs. Google Maps. What is going away is the Google Earth overlay for the navigation maps. The maps themselves are stored in memory in the car and they are not Google Maps. The maps are from HERE which Audi, BMW and Mercedes purchased a couple of years ago. So the regular display of the maps and navigation will continue to work. It is too bad we will lose Google Maps overlay but that is not why I renewed Audi Connect, I see it as more flash than substance.

  6. #6
    Established Member Two Rings rgobantes23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThetaB8A4 View Post
    So am I understanding the right.. the car I pickup up last week, that took 7 months to receive will not have a working map in two years? Or is this just the traffic update system on the maps?
    I assume the navigation map will still work but it will no longer have the ability to do the 3D/satellite view which is the Google Earth component of the MMI & Virtual Cockpit.
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    Not cool, definitely not cool

  8. #8
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    And traffic should continue to work since that does not come from Google either. It comes from INRIX through the Audi Connect(ion). Note that if you have the newer A4ís A5ís and I believe the Q5ís which come from Audi using INRIX traffic the MMI can be recoded to receive traffic from Sirius XM Traffic. This has been done by a few of the A4 owners themselves and in once case the dealer actually made the change. If you need live traffic but do not care about the other Audi Connect features, Sirius XM Traffic is much more economical (you will have to contact Sirius to purchase a subscription)
    Last edited by ManyAudis; 03-15-2018 at 09:46 PM.

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    Established Member Two Rings ThetaB8A4's Avatar
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    Thanks all! I assumed the maps were loaded onto the drive in the car but wasn't sure. Still don't completely understand why the computer can't be updated.
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  10. #10
    Established Member Two Rings rgobantes23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManyAudis View Post
    There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding Google Earth vs. Google Maps. What is going away is the Google Earth overlay for the navigation maps. The maps themselves are stored in memory in the car and they are not Google Maps. The maps are from HERE which Audi, BMW and Mercedes purchased a couple of years ago. So the regular display of the maps and navigation will continue to work. It is too bad we will lose Google Maps overlay but that is not why I renewed Audi Connect, I see it as more flash than substance.
    It may be a surprise to you but many people like Google Earth overlay on their MMI/VC navigation. My questions is why Audi will stop programming for MY18 or earlier hardware. I don't expect cell phones and laptops made in 2018 or earlier not having satellite overlay on navigation/maps.
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  11. #11
    Veteran Member Four Rings
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    It looks like the issue is Google, not Audi. Google made some changes on their end and the current hardware is incompatible.

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    Audi Customer Experience Three Rings Audi USA's Avatar
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    Hello everyone,

    I'd just like to make some clarifications so we're all on the same page moving forward. The standard map/navigation views will still be available as they are now, there will just not be any 3D views or Google Streetview available based on the software changes made by Google. As of right now Audi does not have a hardware or other similar upgrade that can be made available for MY18 and older vehicles to include the Google Earth functionality. Please feel free to send me a PM on this topic if you have additional questions.

    I will also be using this thread as a measuring stick for feedback, as I know this is disappointing news.

    Thank you kindly,
    Vincenzo F.

    Audi Social Community Manager

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    I am glad I saw this as we are currently looking at 2018 A5ís. It is very disappointing that this feature is going away for MY2018 and older cars. Hopefully Audi will make this right. Hard to understand why Google doesnít make their improvements backwa d compatible.

  14. #14
    Established Member Two Rings rgobantes23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillyfisher View Post
    I am glad I saw this as we are currently looking at 2018 A5ís. It is very disappointing that this feature is going away for MY2018 and older cars. Hopefully Audi will make this right. Hard to understand why Google doesnít make their improvements backwa d compatible.
    I think it is only Audi. I doubt Google Earth will stop on older cell phones and laptops.
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  15. #15
    Established Member Two Rings rgobantes23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnEnglish View Post
    It looks like the issue is Google, not Audi. Google made some changes on their end and the current hardware is incompatible.
    Is it really Google? Older cell phones and laptops will no longer be able to use Google Earth by the end of 2020?
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgobantes23 View Post
    Is it really Google? Older cell phones and laptops will no longer be able to use Google Earth by the end of 2020?
    Cell phones and laptops deliver the Google Earth experience through a web browser. which can be updated.On cars it may be a hardware solution where, short of replacing the physical hardware, it can't be updated.

    edit - Actually, I wonder if Audi will replace Google Earth with HERE. The new A8 features HERE instead of Google.

  17. #17
    Established Member Two Rings rgobantes23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnEnglish View Post
    Cell phones and laptops deliver the Google Earth experience through a web browser. which can be updated.On cars it may be a hardware solution where, short of replacing the physical hardware, it can't be updated.

    edit - Actually, I wonder if Audi will replace Google Earth with HERE. The new A8 features HERE instead of Google.
    That is my point, it is either Audi's hardware or Audi chooses no longer to support it - not because Google is updating. It is a bit understandable if it is not compatible with HERE but not having HERE nor Google Earth is bad. For me, there is no replacement for the real picture/map. From the pics I saw it looks like HERE emulates the real thing with polygons (like a video game), an upgrade (more details) to the current 3D modeling of VC map.
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    My point was that perhaps Google did something on their end that requires a hardware update to keep working on Audis. On other devices an update to the web browser might address the compatibility issue but in the case of Audis a hardware update is required and it's not practical to do that.

    However, I'm leaning more towards HERE being rolled out. It makes sense that they'd want to start getting return on that investment because they now control all the user information gathered instead of Google.

  19. #19
    Established Member Two Rings rgobantes23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnEnglish View Post
    My point was that perhaps Google did something on their end that requires a hardware update to keep working on Audis. On other devices an update to the web browser might address the compatibility issue but in the case of Audis a hardware update is required and it's not practical to do that.

    However, I'm leaning more towards HERE being rolled out. It makes sense that they'd want to start getting return on that investment because they now control all the user information gathered instead of Google.
    Well I guess we see the opposite sides. I don't think it is a good idea to design a hardware assuming that a third party will not upgrade. I just hope after the next major Android operating system update (Oreo replacement) my phone will keep working on the MMI - at least until my vehicle warranty is still active.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgobantes23 View Post
    I don't think it is a good idea to design a hardware assuming that a third party will not upgrade.
    I completely agree.

  21. #21
    Established Member Two Rings Uncle Buck's Avatar
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    These types of concerns are why I am considering simply using CarPlay or Android Auto rather than ordering the Virtual Cockpit/Nav package.

  22. #22
    Veteran Member Three Rings u2nelson's Avatar
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    Yes this is very disappointing news, and not what I payed for. I understand Google made the change, but I payed Audi a premium price for the car, because it has cool things like Google earth on the map. This is a betrayal of trust issue, and now something that is currently working will stop working through no fault of my own. Audi should step up and offer a hardware replacement to keep this working, and I should not have to pay for it again. Imagine if the Engine ECU was scheduled to stop working because we are updating the software...your engine will not run after this date sorry...that would be unacceptable right?

    Jeez
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    Quote Originally Posted by u2nelson View Post
    Imagine if the Engine ECU was scheduled to stop working because we are updating the software...your engine will not run after this date sorry...that would be unacceptable right? Jeez
    Funny you should mention this scenario. I ran into a similar issue with a Harmony link we used to control our home theater setup. They were basically turning it into a brick due to licensing issues. I had it for years, and it worked flawlessly. People with newer versions got upgrades to a new platform, the Harmony Hub. Those with the older models were out of luck. There was a huge blow up over it on the internet that Harmony turned around and made it right and replaced all Links, no matter how old. By doing that for me, Logitech gained a customer for life, instead of losing one. I am hoping Audi steps up and does the same, and comes up with some type of fix to replace Google Earth.

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    Established Member Two Rings rgobantes23's Avatar
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    Audi thinks this is not a big deal otherwise they would have planned for the update better than just saying Google Earth will be stopping by 2020. If I knew the VC and MMI on the SQ5 will be old equipment in one year I would have passed on the SQ5 and waited for the i-Pace instead.
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    Add me to the list of disappointed customers.

    The loss of the Google Maps overlay makes the already overpriced AudiConnect service even less compelling. It costs half the price per month to add a smartphone to my wireless plan than it costs for AudiConnect Prime service.

    Add on to that the buggy MMI software that Audi is slow to update (if they will give you an update at all), and I am coming to believe that Audi is giving up their technological edge.
    Last edited by jamis_cm; 03-27-2018 at 05:01 AM.

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    It might just be me but I sure didn't buy an Audi for Google Earth. All I needed is Susie (The MMI voice) telling me to "turn left in 500 ft". Yes, I bought the Virtual Cockpit and the feature telling me which lane to be in trumps any display. And as a bonus it was an easy decision not to renew AudiConnect after 6 months for $500 or so a year. Think of all the money I saved to buy gas and tires.

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    Established Member Two Rings meticulist's Avatar
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    I don't think any of us bought the car specifically for Google Earth, but it is a feature that I for one paid for when purchasing the tech package. Regardless of if I continued to renew the AudiConnect or not, the option will no longer be supported which should be corrected or compensated as such by Audi. You wouldn't settle if the performance of the car you paid for could no longer be supported and it suddenly had 40 less horsepower.
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  28. #28
    Established Member Two Rings rgobantes23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pauls40 View Post
    It might just be me but I sure didn't buy an Audi for Google Earth. All I needed is Susie (The MMI voice) telling me to "turn left in 500 ft". Yes, I bought the Virtual Cockpit and the feature telling me which lane to be in trumps any display. And as a bonus it was an easy decision not to renew AudiConnect after 6 months for $500 or so a year. Think of all the money I saved to buy gas and tires.
    An all new Audi vehicle on a new platform should not have an outdated major equipment within one year (two years for A4 and Q7).
    Last edited by rgobantes23; 03-27-2018 at 05:21 PM.
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  29. #29
    Senior Member Two Rings Rapture's Avatar
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    I ordered an Exclusive TT RS last May and have been waiting for it very patiently. It was supposed to be built this past December but has been delayed until April now. I read about a possible refresh of this model due for 2019 but simply canít wait longer than I have for a car as I sold my other car in December. Now I read that some of the technology will basically be obsolete soon after I take delivery. Iíve been a long term Audi fan but have a difficult time with this. I hope Audi understands how this affects loyal followers of the brand.


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  30. #30
    Active Member Two Rings Cyttorak's Avatar
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    My journey is very similar to Raptures. Long time, almost 20 years, Audi owner/enthusiast. I also ordered an exclusive TTRS in April of 2017. I was told a delivery date of September which turned into December, then March and now that the car was finally built last week, a mid to late May delivery. It is very hard to stomach waiting for over a year for your car only to see/read up on things like this.

    After researching a bit, this isn't even new news. Its been out there for a long time and ABS are not telling prospective buyers about this, as I'm sure, it would hurt Audi's ever flaunted year over year sales increases.

    I've DM'd Vincenzo about my disappointment in this and encourage everybody else to do the same. For whatever its worth, maybe something will come out of it.

  31. #31
    Established Member Two Rings rgobantes23's Avatar
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    I know how you feel Cyttorak and Rapture. I am also very disappointed with Audi. In 2016 I needed a new vehicle and waited for the all new 2018 SQ5 model so that I'll have the latest platform and technology. A couple of months after delivery I find this news. I also found the older threads after I saw the bad news but I guess I was not researching Google Earth during the wait for the new SQ5 model. I am surprised none of the early 2018 SQ5 reviews (or current) mentioned the outgoing VC and MMI equipment even though the issue is old news. I am basically new to Audi but my SQ5 will probably be my last Audi vehicle because of how badly Audi managed phasing out the older VC and MMI equipment.
    Last edited by rgobantes23; 03-29-2018 at 07:48 PM.
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    For something that Audi has spent a lot advertising this is a huge disappointment. I'm also about to pick up a 2018. For me it's a lease and I guarantee you'll have a huge number of 2018s on the lot at the end of lease period due to this. As funny as this sounds it was a major selling point of the vehicle for me (I kinda have a thing for mapping).

    With that said, Audi is hardly the only one to do this. Other manufactures, like Ford, have turned off internet based features on me before I even owned the vehicle 3 years. I really wish manufactures were held responsible for providing feature sets advertised for X number of years. As more and more technology is pushed to the "cloud" this will become more of an issue in the future. It might be something to to reach out to your local congressman to let them know what's going in the Auto industry as we move more towards these kinds of offerings.

  33. #33
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    Unfortunately, I think that car companies feel that if they upgrade older cars with new features or, in this case, upgrade a car to maintain a feature, that they are removing a reason for a customer to buy a new car. They do not realize that making such gestures generates owner loyalty and more likely results in that customer sticking with the brand and probably recommending it to their friends and relatives. They need to take a lesson from Apple, one of the reasons their loyalty is so high is that they provide free upgrades for their phones for longer than most people keep them. They have also worked out a business model where staying with them has advantages. Rewarding customer loyalty is always a good thing. Compare this to Sirius and the cable companies where staying loyal results in higher fees and you need to threaten to leave to get the best rates.

    In my humble opinion Audi should continue to upgrade the MMI and add features during ownership for perhaps 3-5 years but make the newer Audiís capable of features current hardware does not support. This way you keep current customers happy and loyal while simultaneously giving them reasons to buy a new car..

    What do you think Vincenzo?

  34. #34
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    Angry Loyal customers must renew your vehicles, new customers take a chance!

    This is amazing! There are so many things running through my mind regarding these issues I don't know where to begin! My Audi Connect has been downgraded from 3G to 2G speed in my '13 because T-Mobile made some hardware changes to their equipment. Audi's solution was a discriminative plan that was great if you were lucky enough to be granted the free part & labor. After 2 attempts to get my upgrade, AoA says my car is not eligible! Funny, the 2G on my display and the WiFi hotspot that is now cold says something different! Don't get me started! (too late!)

    I do prefer the Google Maps overlay. I also like many of the other cool features, bells, and whistles! I really like them when the work! My owners manual says I can save my music to the vehicle jukebox -- never got that to work!

    A few years ago, I imagined automakers would have comprehensive interfaces allowing smartphones to connect, synch, or mirror apps and features. It only makes sense that the major cellular companies that have blazed the trail for these complex systems packaged into portable devices would assist. PCs, MAC, iOS, Android, and maybe trackphones too - no matter the details, there should be solutions for our cars for a nominal cost if not at no charge!

    So I suppose the pattern we may be seeing now is the techy version of the certain features no longer working - pop up headlights that stay up when turned off or power windows that need help going up or down! So now our cars' features are as disposable as paper towels or plastic utensils! Don't put them in the dishwasher!

    I don't know if I will still have this car when Google Maps goes away but I know now I will have a few more details to research...
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  35. #35
    Established Member Two Rings rgobantes23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManyAudis View Post
    Unfortunately, I think that car companies feel that if they upgrade older cars with new features or, in this case, upgrade a car to maintain a feature, that they are removing a reason for a customer to buy a new car.
    The 2018 Q5/SQ5 is all new and on a new platform. Within 12 months (when the 2019 model comes out) the VC and MMI will be outdated/obsolete. This is just unacceptable for a brand like Audi.
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  36. #36
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    All I can recommend is keep the conversation going here and more importantly, express your disappointment with AoA customer support (email, phone, snail mail, social media) and your local Audi dealer when you are in for service.

    It's easy to ignore the forums where it is mostly a small group of enthusiasts, but if customer support (and social media) is getting flooded with complaints, they are more likely to act.

    I intend to be relentless with my numerous MMI issues (Google Maps, Carplay, software update availability, general media playback issues, etc) while I still own this car and/or until my issues are resolved.

  37. #37
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    Hopefully Audi will drop the price of Audi Connect for the owners of the vehicles that will no longer get the Google maps.

  38. #38
    Established Member Two Rings rgobantes23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pauls40 View Post
    Hopefully Audi will drop the price of Audi Connect for the owners of the vehicles that will no longer get the Google maps.
    Google Maps will still be there but without the Google Earth overlay. But since Google Earth will no longer be available, I agree that the subscription price should decrease.
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  39. #39
    Established Member Two Rings meticulist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Audi USA View Post
    I will also be using this thread as a measuring stick for feedback, as I know this is disappointing news.
    So what does this mean then? I find it hard to believe that Audi has found a way to "manufacture hardware that is compatible with the new software in MY19 and newer vehicles" but cannot be implemented into 2017 and 2018 vehicles that sold this technology as an additional package.
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Audi USA View Post
    Hello everyone,

    I'd just like to make some clarifications so we're all on the same page moving forward. The standard map/navigation views will still be available as they are now, there will just not be any 3D views or Google Streetview available based on the software changes made by Google. As of right now Audi does not have a hardware or other similar upgrade that can be made available for MY18 and older vehicles to include the Google Earth functionality. Please feel free to send me a PM on this topic if you have additional questions.

    I will also be using this thread as a measuring stick for feedback, as I know this is disappointing news.

    Thank you kindly,
    Vincenzo,

    You imply in your response that the hardware cannot support the new Google Earth format which will be required after 2020. There are a lot of technical people on this board, myself being one of them and perhaps if Audi could provide a technical reason why this cannot be done it would go a long way towards appeasing the owners. For example, if Google is changing the programming interface in a way which would make it prohibitive or impossible to continue using Google Earth that might be an acceptable reason. I did some searching on the Google Earth interface and I cannot find any notice of changes that far in the future but perhaps Audi gets notifications from Google well in advance of the public.

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