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AutoTech

Google Enhances Android In-Car Experiences with Fresh Apps and Features

Google Unveils New Apps and Features for Android Auto and Android Automotive OS, Introduces Program to Expand App Ecosystem

Google has announced a suite of new apps and features coming to vehicles equipped with Android Auto and Android Automotive OS, along with the launch of a program aimed at broadening the app ecosystem across both platforms.

The tech giant confirmed the arrival of new entertainment apps, including multimedia streaming services like Max and Peacock, as well as the popular mobile game Angry Birds, on select vehicles integrated with Google’s technology. Additionally, Google introduced the Uber Driver app for Android Auto, enabling Uber drivers to accept rides and deliveries and access turn-by-turn directions on a larger display. Furthermore, Google Cast will be introduced to cars featuring Android Automotive, initially debuting in EVs from Rivian, enabling users to cast video content from their mobile devices directly to the car’s central display while parked.

Announcing these developments at its annual I/O conference, Google also outlined measures to support app developers in bringing their solutions to vehicles. Introducing new quality tiers inspired by those existing for large screens, Google aims to streamline the process of adapting existing apps for cars by emphasizing what constitutes a superior user experience in a vehicle.

Tier 1, known as “Car Differentiated,” represents the pinnacle of innovation, with apps specifically engineered to function seamlessly across a diverse range of vehicle hardware and adapt their experience for driving and parked modes. Tier 2, “Car Optimized,” encompasses most apps currently available in cars, delivering a satisfactory experience on the vehicle’s center stack display with some car-specific engineering. Tier 3, “Car Ready,” includes large-screen-compatible apps enabled while the car is parked, potentially requiring no additional modifications.

In collaboration with automotive OEMs, Google will introduce a Car Ready mobile apps program to expedite the integration of smartphone apps into vehicles. Under this program, Google will review adaptive and large-screen-compatible mobile apps to ensure their safety and compatibility in cars. If deemed suitable, the app will be automatically included for distribution on cars with Google integration and made accessible in Android Auto without further development or the need for a new software release. This initiative will initially focus on parked app categories such as video, gaming, and browsers, with plans to expand to additional categories in the future.

The program is scheduled to roll out in the coming months, although developers with large-screen-compatible adaptive apps falling into the aforementioned categories can request an expedited review to participate sooner.

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