The theme of this year's Google developer conference was putting Android everywhere, so it ought to be in the thing that takes people everywhere: the car. Android Auto works by plugging in an Android phone running the L operating system. The phone displays an "A" on the screen and you can no longer operate it. Instead, the phone sends up its information to your car's display. Google calls it "casting," but the key thing to know is that very little of the smarts of Android Auto live in the car's computer — the whole thing is run off of your phone.

We sat down in a Hyundai on the floor of the Moscone Center in San Francisco and started hitting buttons. Unlike your average car audio system, Android Auto was responsive and quick. We were able to jump between the five main tabs without waiting around for the screen to refresh — it's nowhere near the speed you're used to on your phone, but it's worlds better than what car manufacturers usually saddle you with. Google says the nice thing about Android Auto is that it's tied to the upgrade cycle of your phone, not of your car, so you're more likely to get a faster, better experience in your car than you otherwise would. Most people upgrade their phone every couple of years, but their car stereo basically never. Android Auto would change that.

Android Auto has sections for navigation, phone, music, and car status, with a fifth section for the main overview screen. That main overview is essentially Google Now on your car, including contextual notifications and shortcuts to, say, playing music. Since it's basically Google Now, you can do the same basic stuff here, including voice search and voice commands.