Drive Mode was a dull tradition, but at least it was more than just a map wrap
If you drive a car without a dashboard display, you’ve had a few tough years. Last year, Google shut down Android Auto for phone screens on Android 12 and later, using Completely closing the app for all users this year. Earlier this week, we learned Assisted driving mode was dropping the map card from his dashboard. It made sense that this particular static card wasn’t particularly useful, redirecting you to the full Maps app – but it turns out that’s a far cry from the full story. Today, Google confirmed that it’s making a much bigger change to its assistive driving mode: it’s shutting down the dashboard view entirely.
Google reached out to Android Police today to outline the future of the car-friendly user interface for phones in cars, and that’s a huge turnaround. On November 21, the company will shut down the dashboard view that was first launched late last summer, turning the experience entirely to Maps and simplifying the drivers’ experience.
Display of the assistive driving mode dashboard.
Instead of opening Driving Mode with a voice command or a home screen shortcut, it will integrate into the standard Maps navigation system, offering popup notifications for incoming calls and messages. These prompts can be interacted with either by tapping the large icons on the screen, or through standard voice commands that keep your hands on the wheel. Thankfully, the App Network is still there, giving you quick access to all those services and shortcuts.
Assisted driving mode notifications built into Maps.
Why does this change happen? It turns out that most users interact with the assistant driving mode through maps, and not through the dashboard itself. This fact makes perfect sense: Not only does Maps open anytime you give Driving Mode a destination, but these Assistant-enabled features are also turned on within Maps if you start navigating through the app directly. Google has never offered drivers a way to return to the dashboard view once you’re on the go – it’s only given you a shortcut to apps that support Driving mode like Media and Messages. If you are not familiar with the driving assistant mode, which must be accessed initially via a voice command before a file Home screen shortcut ever providedYou will never discover it naturally.
More than anything, this change reinforces how assisted driving mode has failed to gain traction in the wake of Android Auto’s shutdown. Google has had a chance to rethink what purpose your phone should serve while you’re driving, something that the initial announcement at I/O 2019 seemed to show. By the time this dashboard view was launched more than two years later, the assisted driving mode had an entirely new user interface, focused less on providing drivers with contextual information, and more on a standard set of tools and shortcuts. With limited regional availability and no space in the app drawer, it’s no wonder this service never went viral.
It was never meant to be.
finally, Driving mode felt incomplete from the start, especially considering the navigation that is not synced with the dashboard. With next month’s changes, it’s best to think of these tools as a mapping feature, not as part of an Assistant or Android. In a way, today’s news really indicates The final nail in the coffin of Android Auto on phone screens. If you’re on the road this holiday season, you’ll either need a car with a built-in display or you’ll have to rely on Maps with its unique assistant kit. Otherwise, a variety of Third-party offers are waiting for you on the Play Store.
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