Android for Cars is getting more apps so you can use your phone less

Using Waze on Android Automotive
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • The Coolwalk UI is now rolling out to all Android Auto users alongside support for Zoom, Teams, and WebEx video calls.
  • Cars with Google built-in are now getting YouTube, Waze, and a smattering of new apps in the video and gaming categories.
  • Google's new Android for Cars App Library is making it easier for Android developers to bring their apps to connected cars.

Waze took to the stage for the first time at Google I/O 2023 to announce that the Waze app would be coming to all cars with Google built-in. While it's been on Android Auto for a while, cars that use Android Automotive — the version that's more deeply integrated with a car's main systems — now get to enjoy the Waze life.

During commutes, Waze will be even more helpful for EV drivers as charging stations — with all the right plugs and voltages — will be displayed along the route. These stations have all been verified by the Waze community to ensure that you're not getting stuck without a charge on a long drive.

Waze is the first app to be brought over to the Android Automotive platform via the new Android for Cars App Library, a new set of tools that Google hopes will help Android app developers bring more apps to cars. Waze is actually sharing its development process with other developers to help them understand how these tools work and how easy it can be to port their apps over.

Taking a Zoom call on Android Auto

(Image credit: Google)

The Weather Channel app is also coming later this year to all Android for Cars devices, including Android Auto and Android Automotive. Look for more apps coming to both platforms soon, including ones from two new categories: games, and video apps.

In fact, several new apps will be kickstarting those categories including WebEx, Teams, and Zoom, all of which can soon be used straight from your car's dashboard via Android Auto. Late for a meeting? Just tap that "join" button on the dashboard when the calendar reminder comes up and you'll be immediately connected without having to look at your phone.

Additionally, cars with Google built-in will be getting messaging suggestions from Google Assistant so you can more safely reply to messages without resorting to texting and driving. That's all AI-powered and has been available in Android for years, so you're likely already familiar with how it works.

YouTube on Android Automotive

(Image credit: Google)

Cars with Google built-in are also joining in on the video and gaming apps categories, including the inclusion of YouTube which is rolling out to Polestar vehicles first. More automakers will be getting YouTube soon so the folks in the back can watch their favorite YouTubers while you jam to YouTube Music in the front.

GameSnacks are now also coming to cars with Google built-in, enabling touchscreen gaming along with the millions of gamers already enjoying the service on other types of screens.

Lastly, Google is confirming that the new "Coolwalk" Android Auto UI is being rolled out to all Android Auto users so everyone can enjoy the best car UI Google has ever made.

If you want to watch the session in full, check out the "New with Android Auto" video below.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu
  • taynjack
    Monster contradiction in this headline."Android for Cars is getting more apps so you can use your phone less...There's no need to be more distracted these days."
    More apps = more distractions. There is no sane reason for your car to have YouTube!
  • gomezz
    My view is that the car's touch screenshould be disabled unless the car is parked up with the usual basic generic controls provided on physical buttons ie Volume control, Play/Pause etc. Any passenger could still control the system from their phone so no loss of functionality used in a safe manner.