Google is releasing an Android Auto update in the next few days that’s designed to make its user interface easier and more efficient to navigate in order to cut down on the likelihood that any element of your car’s of infotainment console becomes distracting and risks putting you or your vehicle in danger. The changes are mostly aimed at improving music playback and messaging notifications.
Now, while playing music in your car via Android Auto, you can select new artists, albums, and tracks more quickly, thanks to larger album art design and an easier-to-maneuver interface design. Google says it’s also improving the Google Assistant-powered search results for browsing music, so you can ask for certain genres or time periods or ask Google to play something specific from an artist, and you’ll get better categorized results.
For messaging, Google is adding a new feature that will preview a snippet of a new text overlaid over an existing app like the music playback or Google Maps apps, but only when the car has come to a complete stop. That way, in the event you don’t want to pick up your phone or cycle through a different app manually using the car’s console, you can just see the message pop up. For those worried about sensitive messages appearing for everyone in the car to see, Google is making this notification feature opt-in only through the Android Auto settings menu. The company is also expanding messaging support in Android Auto from SMS to MMS, for multimedia messaging, and the new RCS, or rich communication services, standard.