Google Assistant driving mode announced at Google I/O

A new Android Q beta will be available today for 21 phones from 13 brands, including all of the Pixels.

The new Assistant driving mode takes the current Android Auto phone app and essentially renders it obsolete, while performing numerous same functions. In a blog post, Android Auto product manager Rod Lopez said this update is supposed to "help you get on the road faster" and "show more useful information at a glance". However, by figuring out to how to reduce the size its speech recognition library to under half a gigabyte, Google has made it possible for the Assistant will be able to respond to voice commands completely using on-device, without the need to ping the cloud. Google is also improving parental controls so that parents can set usage limits on individual apps as well. Google needs the OK from tons of safety governing bodies around the world before it can do a rollout, so pushing any new code is pretty much a nightmare.

The UI now gets new features and a dark theme. With the music open, you'll see your next turn information. This grid of apps is now the new home screen, and the familiar list of notifications and suggestions (Android Auto's old home screen) now lives under the bell button.

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The updated interface will begin rolling out from the beginning of the third quarter of 2019. However, there was a solid section on Android Q and upcoming features.

This is particularly helpful if you use Waze instead of Google Maps and listen to streaming services like Deezer or Spotify, so you get a more personalized experience without a single touch. Plus, you'll receive reminders when an app has your location in the background, so you can decide whether or not to continue sharing.

To go along with last year's intro of Digital Wellbeing, Google announced Focus Mode for Android Q and Android Pie.

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Google says multiple foldable phones are launching this year, and it showed off how screen continuity - where an app adapting to different screen dimensions as you unfold or fold the device.

What makes Google Assistant Driving Mode special is that there's no special app to download. Android will communicate the latency and speed of a connection is to apps so that it will know when 5G is available.

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