Android Update

Android Driving Mode Adds Google Assistant Smart Replies and Voice Music Searches

Google has imported a couple of Google Assistant features to the Android operating system. The update augments Android Auto with Google Assistant’s smart replies and voice-enabled music searches and adds more options to the Family Bell proactive alerts.

Automatic Auto Voices

Drivers will soon get the option of having the driving version of Android’s interface turn on automatically as part of the update. The upgrade will incorporate Google Assistant’s smart replies in the format so that a single tap can send a suggested reply or let drivers dictate one to send. The screen will also have a play button for music always on the screen and a search icon for hunting for songs or artists by voice request. Some Android phones can also now control the locks and ignition of some BMW cars. The option is limited to Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphones, although both car and phone options will likely expand soon. Google’s exclusive deal with Groupe PSA last year was followed by one with Ford in February to bring Google Assistant to its upcoming models. The added compatibility with Cerence and its enormous fleet may contribute as well.

The Family Bell proactive alarm has also been updated for the holiday season. Family Bell lets users create custom reminders that Google Assistant can announce by reading the text out loud. The feature debuted in August for Nest smart speakers and displays, offering preset suggestions. Any smartphone with Google Assistant can now get custom alerts now so that a kid can be reminded of after-school activities and family events. The feature quickly added the option to alert mobile devices too. The new update includes more suggested activities, including family movie night, volunteering, and watering a tree.

Auto Updates

Google’s apparent interest in encouraging drivers to use Android devices has led to a lot of improvements and additional features this year. The operating system gave drivers the option to pay for gas by asking Google Assistant at tens of thousands of gas stations around the United States in September. Google Maps added charging stations to its list of landmarks at the same time, along with real-time updates on if there’s a free charger. Google’s tech will even adjust the battery’s temperature on the way to speed up the charging process. Though the update mentions Android Auto, Android’s Driving Mode is in the process of replacing it. The basic function of a driving-friendly interface is the same.

“Whether you’re driving home for the holidays or simply going to the store for some last-minute groceries, a suite of updates enhances just how helpful Android can be on the road,” Google Assistant interaction designer Tiffany Yang explained in a blog post. “You can now set Android Auto to launch automatically when you connect your Android phone to your compatible car to stay connected on every drive. And once you’re on the road, Android Auto helps you get things done so you can stay focused on the road.”


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