Google is rolling out improvements to Google Assistant within Google Maps to make it more tuned to the navigation experience. With a lower visual profile to help users focus on driving, Assistant will be optimised for navigation, and take up less space to minimise distraction for drivers.
Simply say “OK Google”, and the new optimised Assistant will appear at the bottom of the Maps display, sliding up over the arrival time and distance estimate and navigation controls. During daylight hours, this panel will be white, and at night, dark.
These screenshots below via 9to5Google:
Importantly, Assistant commands will now run in the background and keep the user in Google Maps, instead of switching to Assistant completely. This will allow users to initiate SMS messages, play music and more (even making phone calls) without leaving the Maps navigation interface.
Google referred to this update at Google IO earlier this year, but it appears that it’s starting to roll out now in version 10.4.1 of Google Maps. The new features join other changes to Maps and Assistant, including business messaging and a commute tab with playback controls integrated.