Again within the halcyon days of 2019, Google confirmed off “Assistant Driving Mode,” a slick new interface meant to interchange its growing older Android Auto app on telephones. After a 12 months of delays, it lastly confirmed up on telephones final December — with out that shiny new UI that made it so interesting within the first place. With Android Auto for cellphone screens weeks away from shutting down, Google is lastly giving Assistant Driving Mode a brand new residence display screen — and it is truly fairly nice.
Though this is not a 1:1 match for what Google confirmed off again in 2019, it is a large enchancment over the essential listing of apps that Assistant customers have been caught with for practically a 12 months. As noticed by 9to5Google, Assistant Driving Mode’s residence display screen offers music recommendations, navigation outcomes, playback controls, and shortcuts for texting and calling different customers. You possibly can faucet between playback controls and really useful mixes at any time. In the event you’ve not too long ago looked for a vacation spot, your location historical past condenses all different tiles, filling the highest of the display screen.
The app interface continues to be right here, accessible from the tile shortcut within the bottom-right nook of the display screen. The “For You” panel suggests music and podcasts from providers like Spotify, YouTube Music, and Google Podcasts. There’s additionally a full-screen music interface if you happen to’d quite preserve navigation turned off.
Choosing “The place to?” offers urged areas primarily based on latest search historical past, and the messaging and cellphone shortcuts listing prime contacts alongside latest communication, like missed calls or unread texts.
This UI solves an enormous drawback that drivers had discovered with Assistant: you needed to be navigating someplace to make use of it. Now, asking Google to “launch Driving Mode” brings you proper to the brand new residence display screen, with out the necessity to kind in an handle or location.
It is a large enchancment over the previous model, nevertheless it’s not good. It crashed as soon as whereas I used to be testing the app, forcing me again to the cellphone’s residence display screen. That is annoying sufficient sitting right here at my desk, nevertheless it may turn into an actual drawback out on the street. Even worse: there’s seemingly no option to get again to the brand new residence display screen as soon as you’ve got began driving someplace. Tapping on the app grid icon from Maps has a shortcut for “Residence display screen,” nevertheless it brings you again to your cellphone’s residence display screen, with Maps in PiP mode. Driving Mode ought to positively have an “Exit” button, however labeling it as “Residence display screen” is needlessly complicated.
Additionally, forcing customers to launch this mode with a voice command each time is needlessly complicated. Simply add a shortcut to the app drawer, Google.
Even with some bugs left to iron out, it is thrilling to see Assistant Driving Mode lastly get the house display screen it deserves. As you may see beneath, the UI has come a great distance since its preliminary unveiling in 2019. The scrollable menu has been changed for a static show of tiles, with recommendations restricted to particular menus quite than cluttering up your complete residence display screen.
Google’s unique UI for Assistant Driving Mode.
We have seen this menu on Pixel gadgets operating each Android 11 and the Android 12 beta. As with every Google replace, it’d take some time earlier than it hits your cellphone, although all Assistant Driving Mode customers ought to obtain this new UI quickly. With Android Auto on telephones going away with Android 12, it hopefully will not take too lengthy to reach on all gadgets.