Google's Android Auto update: Expect easier, safer access to messages, music

Google tweaks Android Auto interface and search features to minimize driver distractions when finding and playing content.

Google is releasing a safety-focused update to its Android Auto platform to make it easier for drivers to access content and view messages.

The update, due out in the coming days, aims to offer simpler and safer ways to interact with the Android Auto user interface.

The update includes a new message preview feature, an updated media user interface, voice search tweaks, and group messaging.

The new media interface offers large album art to make finding and playing music and podcasts quicker and easier. This feature works in Google Play Books, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, Pocket Casts.

Google says it's made improvements to voice search too, so now when users ask Assistant for music from a certain generation or genre, it displays search results by artists and albums.

SEE: How we learned to talk to computers, and how they learned to answer back (cover story PDF)

As noted by Android Police, this feature addresses the problem of Assistant not always understanding whether the user is asking for an album or a song.

Users can enable an optional message-previewing feature that displays a short preview of a message. For safety reasons, it only shows the preview once the car has stopped. The preview displays a subject header, the sender's name, and an abbreviated version of the message.

Google has also added support for apps that use MMS and RCS, so users can take advantage of apps Messages, Hangouts, and WhatsApp with group messaging.

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The new media interface offers large album art to make finding and playing music and podcasts quicker and easier.

Image: Google
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Google says it's made improvements to voice search too, so now when users ask Assistant for music from a certain generation or genre, it displays search results by artists and albums.

Image: Google
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Users can enable an optional message-previewing feature that displays a short preview of a message.

Image: Google

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