Android Auto is getting some new features, Google has announced overnight, which should make the system a bit easier to use, and add the ability for drivers and passengers to play games while they’re driving.

No, we’re not joking.

From a user interface perspective, Google has announced shortcuts to make frequently accessed features easier to get to. Need to adjust a thermostat at home? You can. Open your contacts list? Yep. On those cars with wider displays, there’s a new split-screen mode too, which will allow drivers to see a map AND media controls at the same time.

The most interesting feature is in-car gaming. Before you panic and think that its going to be Crossy Road on your head unit while you’re driving, it’s not quite. The games are voice-based games that you can play with Google Assistant.

The games on offer will include Jeopardy, so you can play trivia games with Google to break up a boring drive, but as with anything that takes your focus off driving – even voice based games – it’s probably best to keep your eyes (and your mind) on the task at hand.

The last of the new features include custom wallpapers so you can choose a more bespoke “car-inspired” background instead of the standard Android Auto fare.

Any Android device running Android 6.0 or later (so, virtually any Android phone currently being used) should be able to support the update, and it will be rolled out to users in coming days.

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Chris Rowland
Chris has been at the forefront of smartphone reporting in Australia since smartphones were a thing, and has used mobile phones since they came with giant lead-acid batteries that were "transportable" and were carried in a shoulder bag. Today, Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.
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