Android Auto update unveiled at CES 2023 along with improvements to digital car keys and Google built-in for cars
This year at CES 2023, Google launched the new Android Auto experience, announcing expanded digital car key sharing as well as improvements for cars with Google built-in.
Let’s get started with the revamped Android Auto rolling out to users starting January 5, 2023. First previewed at Google I/O last year, this overhaul includes UI improvements and features to help you while you sit behind the wheel.
The three pillars of the latest version of Android Auto are to “navigate where you’re going, communicate with friends and family and play music or podcasts”. To that end, Maps is now closer to the driver’s seat to ensure you can keep track of where you are at all times and not miss important turns. The split-screen layout is also optimized to adapt to different screen sizes, such as widescreen, portrait and everything in between.
Media cards have received a Material You redesign, and Google has finally added one of its most requested features, a searchable progress bar for music and podcasts. Android Auto also has a number of new shortcuts to make it easier to complete tasks on the go.
First, the Quick Launcher lets you access your most recently used apps, and there are shortcuts to quickly reply to messages or call your favorite contacts. Furthermore, Google Assistant will now provide smart suggestions such as missed call reminders, arrival time sharing and instant access to music or podcasts.
That’s not all though, Google says you’ll soon be able to make WhatsApp calls on the latest Pixel and Samsung phones with Android Auto too.
Digital car keys
Digital car keys allow you to lock, unlock and start compatible cars. While you can already share keys across Pixels and iPhones to give access to friends or family, you’ll soon be able to do the same with Samsung and Xiaomi phones later this year.
With Google built-in, you get Google Assistant, Google Maps and apps from the Play Store on the car’s screen without the need for a phone. Some cars that already support this are the recently announced 2023 Honda Accord Touring, and select cars from Volvo, Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac and Renault. Ford and Lincoln are expected to join the club later this year as well.
One of the new features now available is Google’s new HD Maps that provide drivers with “precise road details such as lane markings, signs and road barriers to support automakers’ assisted and autonomous driving technologies for safer, more hands-free driving on select roads.” The HD map is first rolled out to the Volvo EX90 and Polestar 3.
The Waze app is also on its way to more cars with Google built in, starting with selected Renault cars.
And finally, some good news for those of you who like to stream videos while parked in your electric car. YouTube will soon join Tubi and MGM+ via the Google Play Store with more apps expected to arrive in the future.
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