Google Puts Android into Your Car, Makes Sure Your Hands Are on the Wheel

The new service makes it safer to use your phone while driving

During the Google I/O conference, Patrick Brady, Android director of engineering, introduced a new project that the company had been working on – putting the famous operating system into your car.

Android Auto will be featured into cars from some 40 carmaker partners from all over the world that have agreed to be part of the Open Automotive Alliance. The first cars compatible with the new system will be available by the end of the year, Google said.

The new tool seems to be Google’s response to Apple’s CarPlay that was announced earlier this year.

All you have to do to benefit from Android Auto is plug in your phone into the car’s console and the car’s center display turns into another interface for the phone. Since the entire thing is voice-controlled, you won’t even have to take your hands off the wheel to operate it. You’ll even be able to tell your device to read your texts aloud and to dictate a message to send back.

Android Auto will focus on three essential things you need inside the car – navigation, communications and music. While the communications part is pretty easy to figure out, the navigation one is going to be a bit different than what you’re used to.

Google Maps won’t just get a larger screen to work on. In fact, it will include live traffic information and local search, as well as turn-by-turn directions for various locations that you can tell the device you want to reach.

During the presentation, it was also shown that the system was able to respond to queries about the opening time of certain businesses. Simply telling Android Auto to “navigate there” brings up directions without having to tell it where “there” actually is.

The music feature that becomes available when using Android Auto is similar to the regular Google Play Music. The app has simpler controls and comes with support for albums, playlists, and radio stations, making your short or long trips more pleasant.

The Android Auto SDK was announced by Google during the event, allowing developers to create apps specifically made for car rides. APIs for messaging and music apps will be available at first. Spotify, Pandora, Joyride and iHeart Radio are just some of the tools that have already made their way on the new Google tool.

Honda, Hyundai, and Volvo will all create cars compatible with Android Auto, which will become available later this year, while more will certainly be delivered in the future.

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