Google rolls out a big update for Google Maps Driving Mode before Android Auto officially retires

New voice commands are incoming – are you ready?

Android Auto
(Image credit: BMW)

Google has been super-busy updating Android Auto recently, with updates to make driving safe as well rolling out a new essential user feature, both of which you can read more about by following the links below.

Yes, Google is now clearly a lot more focused on improving the Android Auto experience, which, up until recently, left many users feeling frustrated and angry.

In addition to how Android Auto appears on your car's screen, the search giant is also bringing some big changes to your phone as well, with the app-version of Android Auto expected to be shuttered in the coming weeks and the new Google Map-based replacement getting a big update ready to take over.

If you didn't already know, firstly, where have you been all these months? And secondly, Android Auto (the app on your smartphone) is being closed down by Google and replaced with a Google Assistant-powered 'Driving Mode' in Google Maps.

The new Driving Mode is already available as a preview, and Google is currently rolling out a massive update ahead of the official launch.

Thanks to the new update, you can 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 scheduled to launch in the coming weeks, though initially, it’ll only be offered to those whose Android phones are set to English, German, Spanish, French, and Italian.

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Spencer Hart
Spencer Hart

As the Style and Travel Editor at T3, Spencer covers everything from clothes to cars and watches to hotels. Everything that's cool, stylish, and interesting, basically. He's been a part of T3 for over six years, and in that time covered every industry event known to man, from CES and MWC to the Geneva Motorshow and Baselworld. When he's not decorating his new home, he can be found messing around on an electric scooter, playing with luxury watches, or making sure his Instagram account looks perfect.