Google has long since discontinued Android Auto for Phone Screens (since the launch of Android 12), the interface that allowed drivers to benefit from a simplified interface that provided quick access to useful phone functions behind the wheel in a quick way. This was replaced by Driving Mode, a slightly more limited but still useful interface that allowed you to quickly access voice assistant, calls or navigation with a single tap of the screen while driving. Now, however, Google is ditching that too and doesn’t seem to be replacing it with anything else.
Drivers are also left without the Driving Mode interface on Android
It looks like the only way drivers will have access to such an interface will remain exclusively via Google Maps. The shortcut to Driving Mode or enabling the feature via the virtual assistant will no longer work as of November 21. The problem is that many users don’t want to use Google Maps exclusively for navigation. There are users who prefer Waze or other systems, such as PlugShare for electric cars.
Somehow Google is trying to force users to turn to Android Auto directly on the car’s screen in particular, but even in 2022, equipping it with a compatible multimedia system is not standard in base variants.
Curiously, however, Driving Mode has only been on the market in “official” form for a year. The feature was originally announced at Google I/O 2019, but it wasn’t until September 2021 that it was officially released in a “stable” version, with the feature in beta testing for about two years. The company hasn’t offered a reason for dropping Driving Mode, but the lack of an alternative is curious to say the least.
What is certain is that if you rely on Driving Mode on Android, you’ll now only have to access it from Google Maps. It’s unclear if this integration will survive much longer, though. Google seems to be putting its foot down again, most recently announcing the closure of Stadia, its video game streaming service.