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Google Maps Driving Mode Updated with a New Feature Ahead of Public Launch

The new driving mode coming to Android users and supposed to replace Android Auto for phones has recently received a new feature ahead of its planned launch as part of the next version of Google’s mobile operating system.

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This new update brings an entirely new home screen, a feature that Google already showcased in 2019 when it actually announced the new driving mode, therefore getting everything ready for the grand debut expected later this fall.

As you can see in the screenshots here, the new home screen makes it even more obvious that it’s powered by the Google app and Google Assistant.

Bundled with Google Maps and currently available for a limited number of users as part of a preview, the driving mode provides a car-optimized experience that offers easy access to essential capabilities behind the wheel, such as phone calls, music, and messages. The navigation features are obviously powered by Google Maps.

As far as Android Auto for phones users are concerned, the whole experience certainly feels familiar, as this was also the purpose of the app that Google is now trying to get rid of. The switch will take place with the debut of Android 12 when the Android Auto for phones app will be ditched, while users will be directed to the new driving mode bundled with Google Maps.

The new home screen comes with a rather straightforward UI, and after the launch, the first things you see are the recommended actions in a card called “For you.” This obviously uses Google Assistant intelligence and is supposed to offer easier access to the things you need the most.

There are dedicated cards for messages, phone calls, and a music player, and the new home screen also includes a search box at the top of the UI to let you easily provide an address and then start the navigation with Google Maps.

There are reports that the same update is going live in Android 11 as well, so most likely, once Android 12 launches later this year, the switch to the new driving mode will take place on all supported OS versions.

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