Android Auto brings new launcher and more

Google has announced a new update coming for its Android Auto platform. The update will come to all vehicles running the official version of the platform and will roll out over the next few weeks.

The update includes a new app launcher, Google Assistant badges, improvements to how media is played and more.

The new Android Auto update adds a new app launcher that is aimed at being more streamlined. The bottom left button will bring up the app launcher, with the commonly used apps featured on the top row.

Further, several icons will now feature a Google Assistant badge. Tapping that icon will prompt Assistant to read out the information to you. This includes weather reports, news, reminders and more. Android Auto will now also automatically pick up music and podcasts from where you left off. However, the feature is limited to media apps compatible with Auto.

The new update also introduces updates to navigation. If you already have a route queued on your phone, Android Auto will automatically populate the directions and start navigating to the location. Further, the navigation bar will now sit at the bottom of the display, letting users manage multiple apps more easily.

On the bottom right corner, a new notification button houses all of your recent calls, messages and alerts. You can also keep in touch with friends and family, while keeping your eyes on the road.

Just long press the mic button on the steering wheel, tap on the mic button on your display or say “Hey Google” to have the Google Assistant help make calls, send messages and read your notifications.

Android Auto now properly supports widescreen displays in cars that support it—giving you extra space for step-by-step navigation, media playback and ongoing call controls (dependent on vehicle support).

Plus, the new Android Auto improves visibility with easier to read fonts as well as a new dark theme and colourful accents that match your car’s interior.

Google highlights that this new version will not be reflected in Android Auto on the phone – it’s all about your cars interface. The phone screen experience will be switched to the Google Assistant’s new driving mode that was showcased at this year’s Google I/O.