Spotify Ends Car View to Push Voice Control
Spotify has removed the Car View option from its mobile app to encourage voice control of the streaming service. The decision, as shared in Spotify’s community forum, comes as the company has begun selling the Car Thing device for browsing and playing audio content in cars ad rolling out a Spotify voice assistant to boot. The removal applies to all versions of Spotify, though it appears to have vanished first from Android devices.
Car View Rearview
The Car View feature for Spotify simplified the interface and enlarged any text, as can be seen in the image above. The idea was to make it safer and easier to run Spotify while driving, similar to the automotive modes for smartphones like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Removing Car View opens a window onto where Spotify hopes to go next and what it thinks customers should use rather than a touchscreen. The response on the community forum encourages the original poster to switch to using Google Assistant so that they can have hands-free control over Spotify instead while the company works on new ideas.
“We can confirm that we’re retiring the car view feature. This however doesn’t mean we don’t want to improve on how our users listen to Spotify while driving,” a Spotify moderator explained on the forum. “On the contrary, we’re actively exploring a variety of new ways to deliver the best in-car listening experience. Think of retiring car-view as something that needs to happen in an effort to make way for new innovations coming down the track.”
Car Thing Time
Spotify’s timing dovetails neatly with the pre-order debut of the $80 Car Thing, which is unlikely to be coincidental. Those who joined the waitlist during the initial beta test have first priority for receiving it, though anyone can sign up to buy the Bluetooth streaming device. The Car Thing connects to the internet through a smartphone, as the Amazon Echo Auto does with Alexa, and uses Spotify’s voice assistant to interact with drivers. The Spotify Car Thing is essentially a touchscreen and control dial mounted on a vent or dashboard. The dial and touchscreen can also be used to navigate through Spotify’s platform to find content and there are four buttons on top that can be assigned to specific playlists, podcasts, or music channels.
The voice assistant seems to be what Spotify hopes drivers use to interact with the device. ReadSpeaker’s VoiceLab tech provides the voice users hear when they say “Hey Spotify” or ask the AI to read any text on the screen. One question is if the Car Thing or future devices will connect with Spotify’s Greenroom social audio platform. With ‘playlist-inspired shows’ and new features and tools for creators steadily rolling out, Greenroom is clearly central to Spotify’s current strategy. Spotify carving out even a small percentage of the car audio market would likely make the purchase of the social audio platform from Lockerroom entirely worth it, especially if that helps encourage podcasters who see a potential revenue from Spotify connecting its Anchor podcast publishing tool to the Spotify Audience Network marketplace for audio advertising.