Google has a small tendency to occasionally announce features that never seem to arrive, looking at you Google Photos magic chain link fence remover. At Google I/O last year Google announced a new Assistant Driving Mode would be coming to Android and would replace Android Auto as the ‘in-vehicle’ mode when driving.
Since then thing’s have been a little quiet, we did see a new navigation mode in Google Maps a few weeks back, which may just be the precursor to the overall revamp of an Assistant based Driving mode. Today thanks to a teardown of the Google Beta app, we’ve got a few more breadcrumbs to follow.
9to5Google was able to trigger a new onboarding UI for ‘Driving- Friendly Assistant’ that seems focused on offering fewer distractions and of course navigation. While only the welcome screen was available, suggesting that either the rest of the functions are not ready, in a different app, or in need a server-side switch, it does hint at where Google is headed with Assistant in the car.
The UI is defiantly reminiscent of the changes found in Google Maps last week and hints at a consistent approach to a driving mode going forward. You can see the main features like navigation, calling, media playback and messaging. Assistant is of course front and centre, well bottom left and we’re expecting a similar voice interaction to that currently on Android Auto.
With the feature reaching the Beta app, it’s likely not long until Google releases Assistant Driving mode more broadly. Perhaps the international launch of a brand new Pixel 5 device would be a great time for Google to drop Assistant Driving mode? We won’t have long to wait if that is the case.