Google Assistant driving mode announced at Google I/O

Google Assistant driving mode announced at Google I/O

While Android has had a presence in cars for years via Google's Android Auto infotainment platform, the experience of using Android in the vehicle hasn't always been as streamlined as you'd hope.

This a feature Android users have wanted for ages. But with Google pressuring developers to target Android 9 Pie with new apps by August, and app updates by November, the fragmentation won't much matter; Google's forcing their hand.

Last year, Google introduced Digital Wellbeing to help us use our phones less. This year, it will bring Focus Mode. If you're in the Messages app or Spotify, you'd be able to see the turn-by-directions in the navigation bar for Google Maps. This is meant to be used when you want to focus on getting things done without being constantly distracted by notifications. As you drive, calls and other alerts will roll in in a low profile way and be relayed through speech, so that you can easily accept or dismiss them with your voice.

Android Q will let parents have more control over their children's phones.

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Some parts of the Android framework will be updated in the background without requiring a reboot. Google says that this darker color palette is "easy on the eyes" and should allow the UI to better blend in with your vehicle's interior (many of which feature black or dark grey upper dashboards and black bezels around the central display).

Android Q includes nearly 50 new features focused on security and privacy - the latter gets a top level placement in Settings even.

The beta is already available for some of these devices but not as an OTA yet (at least for my Essential PH-1). With Android Q, you will always receive a notification when a device tries to access your location. Just download and follow the instructions.

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