Google's big Android Auto update starts rollout: Here's what you get

Google is giving Android Auto a new look and features to make it easier to control apps.

What you get in Google's Android Auto big update Google is giving Android Auto a new look and features to make it easier to control apps.

Android Auto users should see a new look on their infotainment system in a few weeks, with a new navigation bar, notification center and launcher, as well as a dark theme, and improved screen optimization. 

Most of the new Android Auto design updates were announced in May at Google IO and will now roll out in the coming weeks. However, the changes won't be coming to Android Auto because it is being migrated to Assistant's forthcoming driving mode

The app launcher can be opened from the bottom-left button, which displays apps in circular icons, some of which have the Google Assistant badge, such as Calendar. Tapping Assistant-enabled icons allows Assistant to read out details from calendar, provide a weather report or read the news. 

SEE: Tech and the future of transportation (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

As Google announced in May, the new Android Auto starts playing media and Google Maps as soon as the car starts. Maps will also show suggested locations. If a route has already been planned on a phone, Android Auto automatically adds the directions and displays routing information. 

The redesigned navigation bar is located at the bottom of the display and has been designed to let users interact with multiple apps. 

"So if you're listening to music, you won't miss your next turn; or if you're following directions, you can still easily pause or skip a song," says Google. 

The bottom-right corner of the display features a notification button that contains all recent calls, messages, and alerts. Tap the mic button next to the notification button and Google Assistant can help make calls, send messages, and read notifications. 

Android Auto now also can use widescreen displays to give extra space for step-by-step navigation, media playback, and call controls. Changes to improve visibility include easier-to-read fonts and a new dark mode. 

Overall, the design changes are meant to get users on the road faster and allow easier management of apps with fewer taps. 

android-auto-app-launcher.png

With the new Android Auto, the app launcher can be opened from the bottom-left button, which displays apps in circular icons, some of which have the Google Assistant badge, such as Calendar.

Image: Google

More on Google's Android Auto