Google’s Android Car for people with stupid cars is good

Photo of a hand holding a Pixel 5 with an auxiliary driving interface, with the car in the background

The new driving mode with Driving Assistant can help you find places without touching the screen while behind the wheel.
Photography: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

I live in a suburb of California, known for its relative necessity, exacerbated by the presence of rolled hills and hot hot days. I rely on my car to secure seats for myself and my family and I want as little distraction as possible when I’m behind the wheel.

I adopted Android Auto back in 2016 as an entertainment system at the start of my car at Google Android Auto version only for phone for vehicles without infotainment system. Eventually manufacturers like Anchor started producing adapters from other manufacturers like Roav Bolt, which are plugged into a car socket and broadcast audio via vehicle speakers via Bluetooth. It was a way for me to cheat by upgrading my car to get hands-free functions.

But Google plans to discontinue the standalone Android Auto app and instead turn to a simplified experience within the Google Maps app. It is called the auxiliary driving mode, and according to the selected devices it began to be introduced 9to5Google. If you are using Android 12 Beta, you should see this get up when you shout „Start driving mode ”or, “Let’s drive ”to Google Now. Some have also reported that it appeared on Android 11 devices with a beta version of Google Assistant, which you can browse Play Store, although I couldn’t get to it on my own.

I managed to get it to work on Pixel 5 with the latest beta 12 update for Android 12. There is support page if you need extra help to show up. The new user interface should be available without entering a destination, however I could only get a new home screen when I first asked the Assistant to run this feature, after which he realized I wasn’t driving anywhere and went back to Google Maps. In the lower right corner of the Maps app, a small app tray button appears as you would see on Android, and pressing it will take you to a kind of driving launcher.

Three screenshots, side by side, of a new way of driving with an assistant

The new auxiliary driving mode is a complete restart of Android car apps.
Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

You can choose your applications from here, similar to the way you browse via apps in the Android Auto launcher on dash-built cars. Every little app has an interface that is populated with quick links and playlists if it is a media playback application. There are also quick buttons for making calls, sending and viewing messages, or viewing playlists of media players that Assistant has prepared for you in apps like YouTube Music and Google Podcasts – two apps I don’t use at all. I’ve even marked Spotify as my default music player in Google Now settings, but I don’t have access to those playlists unless I specifically touch the Spotify app.

There is no back button in Auxiliary Drive mode, so if you want to switch to another task or another app, you’ll need to tap the launcher and select the option that suits you. Or you can say, The “Hey Google” command, what this feature should inspire you to do. So you would buy an accessory like the Roav Bolt, which adds a microphone to your car so you can hear how you pronounce it, and why Google is moving away from the original look of Android Auto on your phone.

Two screenshots, side by side, two versions of Android Auto and an auxiliary driving mode

The Pocket Casts app in auxiliary driving mode (right) has fewer browsing menus than the original Android Auto app (left) for a smartphone.
Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

The new way of driving with a driving assistant isn’t perfect, but it seems like a step in the right direction. It is much better than initial examination I saw it on Google I / O in 2019, where I saw a full-page interface demonstration that scrolled through each of the features of the available features while driving. The interface is also much easier to touch with one finger, and there are fewer menus to operate, probably because there is no longer a “back” button that guides you through the menu structures. The key to a safe interface in the car is that you can look at it to get the information you need without focusing off the road (so I try to avoid driving on beta software!).

I hope it will be a little easier to get to the selected home screen without entering navigation mode or a car that has to recognize movement. After all, what if I don’t ride anywhere in particular, but still want to flip through my music? I can access auxiliary driving mode to start a song, but only if I set a destination, which I don’t always have to do.

In ton Android Automatic phone application title to Google Cemetery it will soon be nice to see that Google is trying to improve auxiliary driving mode. It works for those who do not have cars compatible with Android Auto, it is easier to have functions and applications optimized for safer driving.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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