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Google Assistant Driving Mode in Maps gets international ‘early preview’

For the past few months, Google has been slowly rolling out its eventual replacement for the phone-based Android Auto experience. The early preview of Assistant Driving Mode is now getting an international launch.

The US debut started late last year and continued into early 2021. Notably, the Assistant Driving Mode available today exists within Google Maps to augment the existing navigation experience. It starts with a dark gray bar at the bottom of your screen that features a microphone in the left corner, while the right opens an app launcher. 

Your last used app appears at the center with the position usually occupied by your last used media app. A tap slides up media controls to play/pause and jump tracks, while another click opens fullscreen controls where you can “Browse” further. 

The launcher shows apps compatible with Android Auto using a grid-heavy interface. You also have shortcuts to access fullscreen pages for “Calls” and “Messages” that show frequent contacts, as well as recent conversations.

This international launch brings Driving Mode to Google Assistant (English) users in Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, India, and Singapore. It’s available for Android 9.0+ devices with 4GB of RAM.

To get started with driving mode, begin navigating to a destination with Google Maps and tap on the pop up to get started. Or, head to Assistant settings on your Android phone or say “Hey Google, open Assistant settings.” Then select “Transportation,” choose “Driving mode” and turn it on.

More about Google Assistant:

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: