Google will fold the Android Auto mobile up into the Google Assistant, once Android 12 drops in the coming months.
The experience, which offers a simplified interface that helps drivers control media and manage phone calls and Google Maps while behind the wheel, will now sit within a special Google Assistant driving mode within Google Maps.
The changes will only apply to those drivers who don’t have Android Auto compatible vehicles, which uses the in-car infotainment system to showcase elements of Android. It’s only users of the stopgap Android Auto app that will notice the change when the app disappears in Android 12.
Google says the idea behind the move is to help drivers accomplish other tasks without leaving the Google Maps navigation interface and without having to paw at the touchscreen while keeping eyes on the road.
Google Assistant driving mode offers a range of ‘Hey Google’ voice commands, such as:
- Make a call: Say “Make a call” or “Call [contact].”
- Answer a call: Assistant will say “Call from [contact], do you want to pick it up?”
- Send a message: “Send a message to [contact]” or “Send a message.”
- Get your messages: “Read my messages.”
- Listen to music: “Play [artist],” or “Play [genre].”
However, there’s also going to be a mini App Launcher within the interface of the Google Maps driving mode, which will offer quick access to the likes of YouTube Music, Google Podcasts and third-party providers.
“Assistant driving mode helps you get things done while you navigate with Google Maps. With Assistant driving mode you can read and send messages, make calls, and control media with your voice, without leaving Google Maps navigation,” the company writes on a Google Assistant support page (via The Verge).
Update: Google sent Trusted Reviews the following statement: “Google Assistant driving mode is our next evolution of the mobile driving experience. For the people who use Android Auto in supported vehicles, that experience isn’t going away. For those who use the on phone experience (Android Auto mobile app), they will be transitioned to Google Assistant driving mode. Starting with Android 12, Google Assistant driving mode will be the built-in mobile driving experience. We have no further details to share at this time.”