Google has released a new version of Android Auto with a new look and new features, including improvements to the Google Assistant after the Assistant Driving Mode was retired in October. The voice assistant offers suggestions and reminders for sending trip updates and callbacks, shortcuts for environmental and entertainment control, and the ability to make calls with Android Auto via WhatsApp. The company also unveiled more cars that will hit the road with Goole installed.
Android Auto support
Android Auto now appears as a split screen with the most accessed information on the main screen instead of having to tap on menu items. Maps and music are visible at the same time and the setup adapts to different screen sizes and shapes. Audio content will show a progress bar for the first time to make it easier to skip a track. The simplified interface is accompanied by a more proactive and streamlined Google Assistant.
The context drives the voice assistant’s suggestions, e.g. For example, offering to play their favorite music or sending intelligent responses like estimated time of arrival to a spouse when the driver asks for directions home. There are also on-screen shortcuts for music and communications, including Android Auto’s first WhatsApp calls, though only on the latest Pixel and Samsung phones for now. Google unveiled some of the new aspects of Android Auto at last year’s Google I/O.
“The new design prioritizes three key goals for drivers: navigating where you’re going, communicating with friends and family, and playing your music or podcast,” said Guemmy Kim, product and user experience director of Android for Cars, in a blog post. “Alongside the new design, it’s now easier than ever to meet some of your most common in-car needs. Google Assistant now offers smart suggestions, including missed call reminders, quick arrival time sharing, and instant access to music or podcasts. On-screen shortcuts speed up replying to messages and calling favorite contacts.”
Google claims that more than 150 million cars use Android Auto, but the number of cars with Google built-in will skyrocket. These vehicles will also be upgraded and expanded. The Waze app begins rolling out on Google built-in cars, starting with some Renault vehicles. Meanwhile, some Volvo models are the first to offer Google’s new high-resolution map with detailed road information like roadblocks and lane markings, boons for semi-autonomous driving.
“Cars with Google built-in bring Google Assistant, Google Maps and more apps from Google Play directly to the car’s screen without the need for a phone, so drivers can just get in and drive. We work closely with automakers and app developers to continually improve this integrated experience,” Kim wrote. “Honda’s recently announced 2023 Accord Touring model joins a growing list of brands offering cars with integrated Google, including Volvo Cars, Polestar, Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac and Renault. Expect an even greater selection from brands like Ford and Lincoln later in 2023 as well.”
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