Last year Google announced its plans to close the Android Auto app and fold it into Google Maps. No longer, then, is there to be an Android Auto standalone app on your smartphone, as Google has decided to streamline everything into a single offering. Powered by Google Maps, this new offering is called Assistant Driving Mode.
Driving Mode was rolled out along with Android 12, but existing users of the Android Auto App were allowed to continue using it for the time being. It looks like that time has come to an end, however, as users have reported seeing a notification that states: “Android Auto for phone screens will stop working soon”.
This shows specifically on the smartphone app, and it's worth noting that Android Auto that lives on your car's infotainment system isn't going anywhere.
The new Google Maps Driving Mode is already available, and we're big fans of the slick experience it provides so far.
It allows you to start driving mode by either connecting your phone to your car via Bluetooth, or, if you're alone and not easily embarrassed, by saying “Hey, Google, let’s drive.”
This voice command will be recognised by Google Assistant and will automatically launch the driving mode to an all-new dashboard view. The new dashboard will provide easy access to the most important things for a driver, including navigation, phone calls, and music apps.
Google has employed glanceable, tappable cards that are large enough to reduce the distraction and which you can interact with using nothing but a single tap. That's great news, as it means drivers can keep their eyes on the road for longer.
In a similar vein, Google has also added another voice command that will automatically read your messages aloud, simply say “Hey, Google, turn on auto-read” to activate it.
The new driving mode is available now, though initially, it’ll only be offered to those whose Android phones are set to English, German, Spanish, French, and Italian.