Android Auto update makes messaging easier, paves way for more customization


Improved browsing, smart messaging and easy pairing are just some of the features coming to Android Auto this summer.

Google announced some new features coming to its Android Auto smartphone mirroring app for cars, including improvements to messaging, media browsing, and optimization. Announced Tuesday morning on the Keywords blog as part of a wider wave of Android updates, the new Android Auto features will roll out to devices sometime this summer.

last month, your I/O 2021 At the developer conference, Google showcased a new fast pairing feature and new multiscreen projection enhancements coming to future cars using Android Auto — cars like BMW’s upcoming iX EV. Today’s announced updates are small, incremental quality-of-life changes to the features found in today’s cars and phones using app mirroring technology.

First up is the ability to read and send messages directly from WhatsApp, Google’s native Messages SMS app, and similar messaging apps, possibly when parked or closed. There’s a New button in the top-right corner of most texting apps that allows you to start a new message. After tapping, say the name of the contact you want and then direct the message to Google Assistant. It’s a small change that at first doesn’t do anything that the current “Hey Google, text Tim” voice command doesn’t already, but it might help clear up the confusion that that text can be sent via Google. Whether exiting Messages or Facebook Messenger allows you to start a chat with the desired service.

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Android Auto is now available on more cars (and bikes) than ever before.

New navigation, parking, and electric car charging apps are also coming online and available for use in Android Auto, offering “new app experiences to help enhance your drive,” according to an announcement on Google’s Android blog. . These New Apps Are Probably Coming From Them early access partnership – including ChargePoint, PlugShare, Parkwiz and SpotHero – are also mentioned during I/O 2021.

Scrolling through long playlists and address books should also be a touch easier with a new “A to Z” button on the scroll bar as well as a “Back to Top” button, which I’m guessing is what the tin says. is . The new tab for media apps should also aid with browsing and organization.

Meanwhile, the Android Auto app on the host smartphone gains new capabilities, such as setting up dark mode manually. You can even personalize the in-car launcher before you hit the road, but Google isn’t revealing exactly to what extent. Currently, the app only allows you to hide specific apps from the launcher and change the order in which they appear. However, Android Auto recently gained the ability to change your wallpaper and the new version of Android 12 comes with a major push towards customization via the Material U design language.

Lastly, the initial setup should be streamlined, allowing you to start streaming audio and navigation with fewer taps. As someone who sets up and uses Android Auto in a different car every week — of course that puts me in a specific group — this is the upgrade I’m personally most excited about.

The new features should be rolling out to the Android Auto interface on phones running Android 6.0 or above this summer.

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