Android Auto has just been hit by a flurry of new problems that are making Google Maps impossible to use on the in-car navigation setup. Fans of the app, which is used on lots of phones and across some of the best Android Auto head units, aren't the best of pleased as you might imagine, especially considering the problem is impacting voice commands which are very important when driving.
When it works, Android Auto is a great little infotainment and sat-nav for drivers across the world. We've recently reported on several issues affecting the platform, amongst a couple of other niggling user problems that seem to have appeared after updates to the app. Unfortunately, in the latter stages of 2021, the app has endured a bit of a rough patch and unfortunately, there's more bad news ahead.
Android Auto has recently been folded into Google Maps and the transition has caused problems. Auto Evolution (opens in new tab) now reports that a recent voice command issue that caused some pesky miscommunications with the app has worsened – now the commands themselves have entirely stopped working when spoken. Yes, indeed, Google Assistant isn't jumping to high attention like the good old days, and reportedly fails to respond to the “OK, Google” wake-up phrase.
The folks over at Auto Evolution note that the same thing happens with "pretty much all commands," while various users on the Google Support forums (opens in new tab) have given accounts of similar functionality failures from Google Assistant. In-car navigation platforms like Google Maps rely heavily on voice command control inside of the car, as it allows drivers to keep their attention where it should be – i.e. on the road.
To be clear: this breakdown of voice command control definitely isn't caused by something as simple as a dodgy cable or other trivial issue. Some bug in the OS has clearly disrupted the way Google Assistant interacts between Android Auto and Google Maps, so it'll be interesting to see how Google responds to this latest glitch.
For now, Google remains characteristically schtum and there isn't a known workaround. With these voice commands completely broken, it makes the whole navigation experience a lot trickier, so let's hope Google can get this sorted sooner rather than later out drivers everywhere won't be going anywhere.