More changes could be coming to Google Maps. The latest news, discovered by Android Police, suggests that Google is working on a new car mode UI similar to Android Auto. It features bigger buttons for easier accessibility whilst driving, and increased Google Assistant support.
Google’s Android Auto platform is already specially designing for drivers, but it now looks as though Mountain View is working on bringing a similar UI to the regular Google Maps app. As you can see in the screenshots below, published by XDA Developers, Android Auto-style buttons should be coming to Maps. The interface utilizes a much simpler home screen, with large buttons for things like Spotify and Google Podcasts, as well as calls and messages.
When you tap on the home screen button you are taken to a new screen where you can easily access all of your essential apps. Google Assistant plays a big part here, with voice controls being heavily integrated into the UI so that drivers can navigate the app without having to take their hands off of the wheel.
The new UI follows the recent addition of a Covid-19 layer to Google Maps, as we reported last week. The extra layer for identifying areas of the map that are considered to have a high risk of coronavirus is not available in every region yet, but has already started rolling out in some parts of the world.
It does seem strange for Google to essentially mirror its Android Auto service within the main Google Maps app. Android Auto has been growing in both functionality and install base since its launch in 2015, but plans to replace the UI with the Assistant Driving Mode have been common knowledge for some time now. Assistant Driving Mode was announced more than a year ago, but we’re still waiting for Google to confirm a timeline for when the switch will take place.
The new driving mode UI is not yet fully deployed, but it has already appeared for some users in the United States. It looks like it will be a server-side update, with no need for an APK or OTA update of your current Google Maps app required.
Have you seen already received the update to Google Maps? Let us know below the line.
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