We know Google has been testing new Android Auto features for a while now, first when it opened up the beta and next when is started allowing some users play games on their car's infotainment system. Now Google has introduced a new button to Android Auto that loads a carousel of cards showing recommended music, podcasts, and news.
The button resembles a music note icon and sits next to the media player controls. If you tap it, it'll load "Media picks for your drive" with a selection of music and content from your chosen media players, including Spotify and Google News. The suggestions are based on your content preferences and previous listening selection.
This updated was first spotted by Reddit user u/sccabrian, but isn't widely available yet, so we expect this is part of a test Google is currently running to see whether people use it or not.
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The panel suggested media and content disappears once you've selected the media you want to listen to.
The recommendations are pulled from the apps you have downloaded on your Android Auto head unit, so it doesn't necessarily have to be Google's own services – if you use Spotify over YouTube music for example then Android Auto will recommend tracks and playlists from Spotify.
We really like that Google is focusing on developing these quick interactions, as it shows an awareness for road safety. While modern touchscreen infotainment systems found in Teslas and the new Ford Mustang Mach-E look futuristic, we've found they can actually be quite distracting to use when driving, and often require you to take your eyes off the road for a long time. Having fewer, larger options on-screen is ultimately safer for drivers.
From reading the Reddit post, it appears there is no way to disable this new button and there's no way to force it to appear either. There's also no option to adjust what content shows up in the suggestion cards. So it's safe to say it's rather limited at the moment.
We'd like to see more options to customise this button in the future.
At present, though, there's no official word from Google as to when, or indeed if, the feature will be rolling out to all Android Auto users. Have you got the