Google is making its infotainment display simpler and safer.
Google recently announced an update for Android Auto. These changes may seem insignificant at first, but overall the experience will be easier to use and therefore safer. The last batch of updates was made in early 2019.
Before we get there, it's worth discussing another Android feature implemented in August 2020. It slipped by us at the time, but Google teamed up with the United States Geological Survey to create Android Earthquake Alert. This feature was rolled out in California, Oregon, and Washington. The benefits of this system are obvious. Studies have shown that an early alert system can reduce injuries by 50%. If you happen to be in a car at the time, you can get away from a sketchy overpass or any shady building that might collapse on top of you and your pride and joy.
As for Android Auto, the main feature is the ability to customize the launch screen. Google did not say to what extent the user will be able to do this, however. We guess users will be able to place the apps they use the most on the home screen. Maps, Phone, Spotify, Podcasts, and Waze will be on the home screen, with lesser-used apps moving over to the second menu.
Users who like Dark Mode will be thrilled to learn that you can now activate it manually. We're big fans of Dark Mode and prefer the darker navigation screen to the bright daylight interface. And while this may sound a bit obsessive, it just looks better in a darker interior. What can we say? We're suckers for color-matching when it comes to interiors.
On the safety side, Google is adding a "back to top" option and an A to Z bar. It also claims a faster setup time than before. The latter doesn't really matter as you should already have Android Auto up and running before driving, but the alphabetic scrolling will reduce the time your eyes are off the road.
Google also updated the messaging system for the global market. This feature has been available in the USA for a while, so we're not 100% sure if we'll notice the difference. We guess that Google will add more quick response options, so you don't have to send your partner "I'm on the road" all the time.
This latest round of upgrades will be available this summer for phones running Android 6.0 and above. Below is a useful video showcasing the basic features of Android Auto. If you still haven't made the change over to Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, here are all the reasons why you should.
Even manufacturers have started turning to companies like Google to design their infotainment interfaces. If you think about it, it makes all the sense in the world. Smartphone companies have more experience with touchscreen interfaces than anyone else. Volvo turned to Google to design the operating system for the Polestar 2, and it works a charm.