Driving is now much safer while using Android Auto thanks to a bunch of much-needed updates Google will be rolling out in a few days. The update makes the user interface easier to use and more efficient to navigate through.

Mainly, these changes are to ensure that the user can have a distraction-free driving experience as much as possible and also to prevent Android Auto itself from ever becoming too finicky to the point where chances of running into an accident while using it are higher. The changes themselves, to be sure, only affect music playback and messaging notifications. That said, these will come with smart implementations to achieve Google’s goal of accident-free driving.

Android Auto Music Playback

With this update, revealed thanks to Android Police’s recent APK teardown, playing music via Android Auto now allows the user to select new artists, albums, and tracks in a much quicker way, thanks mainly to the larger album art display and an interface that’s easier to navigate around. Additionally, Google says it’s improving how search via Google Assistant works for browsing music: one example of this is the ability to ask for certain genres or periods or asking Google to play something specific from a particular artist. All in all, users will also receive better categorized results whenever they perform voice searches.

Android Auto Messaging

As for messaging, Android Auto is going to have a new feature where it’ll preview a snippet of new messages that’s overlaid over existing apps, such as music playback or Google Maps, but only when the car is stopped completely. This allows the user to just look at their infotainment console and not have to pick up their phone to see the text — and this only happens when the car isn’t moving, which makes the whole thing extra safer.

Of course, this could be a problem when there are other passengers around. Surely, the driver doesn’t want everyone present to see their personal messages, which is why it’s a good thing this feature will be opt-in only. Google is also expanding messaging support in Android Auto from SMS to MMS, for multimedia messaging, and the new rich communication services standard, or RCS.

To be sure, these are small changes on paper, but in practice, they add a lot of functionality given that they offer utmost flexibility for the driver, and they’re also designed to make the experience as safe as possible by featuring workarounds that are simple, straightforward, and easy to navigate.

Thoughts about Android Auto’s new forthcoming features? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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