What you need to know
- Google is launching several new features for Android Auto on phones and cars.
- Users will be able to pay for gas using Google Assistant and Google Pay.
- Assistant Driving mode gets a new layout, while Android Auto brings music suggestions for easy access to your favorite tunes.
As for the phone experience, Google Assistant Driving Mode is now rolling out with a new layout. Some users have already noticed this; the new dashboard features large, glanceable cards aimed at making it easier to access features during a drive, whether its music, navigation, the phone, and more.
Users will be able to access the new layout by saying, "Hey Google, let's drive," or by connecting to their car Bluetooth. Additionally, users will be able to say, "Hey Google, turn on auto-read," and Assistant will read incoming messages aloud, meaning you don't need to fiddle with your phone as much while you drive.
Google is also making it easy to pay for gas by partnering with more than 30,000 gas stations across the U.S. Now, when you visit Exxon and Mobil, Conoco, Phillips 66, and 76 stations, you can say, "Hey Google, pay for gas," and Assistant will ask for the pump number, using Google Pay to complete the transaction.
Google says this will be the primary driving experience on the best Android phones and will roll out to devices with support for English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian.
As for Android Auto for cars, new features include new music and audio recommendations from Google Assistant, access GameSnacks for quick entertainment while you're parked, and also set certain apps to auto-launch with Android Auto.
There's also now support for dual-SIM phones and Work Profiles, allowing drivers to select which SIM to make calls and texts from and displaying work-related meetings and messages during your commute.
Lastly, Waze is getting a refresh on Android Auto, with an updated layout that prioritizes navigation while keeping other elements out of the way. The update also includes touchpad support, night mode, and lane guidance support.
Google says that these new Android Auto features "will be available soon" on compatible cars.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.