If you drive a vehicle and own an Android smartphone, you're probably familiar with Google's Android Auto service. Depending on the vehicle you own, the software already comes pre-installed on the car's dashboard. With the release of Android 12, however, Google decided to discontinue the Android Auto app in favor of Google Assistant, which features the new Steering Mode.
- Beginning with Android 12, the Android Auto app will be replaced by Google Assistant's Steering Mode.
- Android Auto on compatible vehicles will remain unaffected.
Using the Android Auto app you can access your smartphone via the car dashboard or even create a navigation route right on the device itself, in order to use other apps such as Google Maps, Waze, Spotify, and receive calls without taking your attention off the road. However, Google also offers a similar experience via Steering Mode in the Google Assistant app. In other words, the same service can be used in different apps from the company.
To avoid this feature from overlapping and to keep their focus on developing just one overall Android experience for cars, Google has confirmed with 9to5Google that Android Auto will be discontinued on smartphones running Android 12 in favor of Google Assistant's Driving Mode:
For the people who use Android Auto in supported vehicles, that experience isn’t going away. For those who use the on phone experience (Android Auto mobile app), they will be transitioned to Google Assistant driving mode. Starting with Android 12, Google Assistant driving mode will be the built-in mobile driving experience. We have no further details to share at this time.
Personally, I believe that this move by Google is pretty consistent, given that Google Assistant's driving mode is simpler to use and is present on a far larger number of smartphones since it comes as a standard app of the operating system, even boasting a dedicated button on different devices.
However, it is a bit worrying to see Assistant getting more and more attention from Google and forcing even more people to use it for important everyday tasks such as driving from home to work and back every day.
So, what do you think of this move by Google? I'm curious to know your opinion in the comments below.