Including a new dark theme for the popular infotainment interface.
Go back a decade, even less, and we wouldn't have been expecting car news to be coming from Google. On Google, sure, but not from Google. That changed, however, in 2015, when the search-engine giant launched Android Auto. And now it's released a new update for the car-phone interface system that promises to make it even better.
For starters, the latest update announced at the Google I/O developer conference features a new dark theme that's designed to be easier on the eyes – particularly when driving at night, through a tunnel, or in an indoor garage.
The updated Android Auto also features a new navigation bar designed to make it easier for drivers to navigate through running apps, from turn-by-turn directions and playing music and podcasts to taking and making calls.
On-screen notifications have also been streamlined. The system is now more capable of adapting to (and making the most of) widescreen displays. And media and navigation now resumes automatically as soon as you step inside and start the car. It's all showcased in the video above, but don't try adjusting the sound (because there is none).
The new Android Auto is set to launch sometime "later this summer."
Since debuting four years ago (around the same time as rival Apple's similar CarPlay system), Android Auto has expanded to over 500 models from 50 automakers across the industry, stemming from the 2015 Hyundai Sonata on which it first launched. That's about the same number quoted for Apple CarPlay, with many (if not most) automakers offering both interfaces on their cars. So chances are good that if you're buying (or have recently bought) a new car, you'll be shouting "Hey Google" at your dashboard in no time.