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In context: Along with announcing a new smartphone, earbuds, and a smartwatch at Google I/O 2022 this week, Google also confirmed significant updates for its car infotainment software. Android Auto is receiving a new interface designed to speed up access to its most popular features.
Android Auto's new interface is set to arrive later this summer. Its biggest change is a new split-screen look that simultaneously displays windows for navigation, messaging, and audio control.
This will let users look at a navigation map, control their music or podcasts, and communicate with contacts without switching between different apps. Google chose those three functions for multitasking after feedback indicated they were the most popular. These windows can rearrange to adapt to the different screen orientations in various cars.
Google plans to add more to this interface in the coming months. This may include contextual suggestions for messaging and choosing what music to play.
Users will also be able to send the navigation system's estimated arrival times to their contacts. The company hopes this will lower the amount of time users look at the infotainment system instead of the road.
Enabling video streaming apps sounds counter to decreasing distractions, but soon the Google built-in infotainment system will allow them while the car is parked. These will include YouTube, Tubi, Epix Now, web browsers, and content streamed from phones.