If you enjoy listening to music or podcasts while driving, you may be using Android Auto and Google Maps in conjunction with Google Play Music, Pocket Casts, or Spotify. But those of you who prefer Waze for directions and traffic updates may often find themselves juggling it alongside their audio app throughout the drive. That's neither easy nor safe, but it's about to get better.
Spotify and Waze are partnering up to make each app's main features easily accessible in the other. You can start a Waze navigation and see turn-by-turn directions within Spotify, and you can access your Spotify playlists and control playback within Waze. Read More
A dashcam is one of those things that seems only slightly important until about five minutes after a fender-bender, wherein it becomes retroactively essential. Even so, those dashboard-mounted cameras don't grown on trees, so most cars in the US still aren't equipped with them. Nexar, a new Android app that's currently in "unreleased" status on the Play Store, aims to fix that. It turns any Android device into an AI-powered dash cam - all you need is Android 4.1 or later, a rear camera, and some way to mount it in your vehicle. Read More
Until such time as Uber can replace human drivers with robots (and it really wants to), it has to deal with people doing stupid things on the road. In an effort to make Uber safer for passengers, the company will start reminding its drivers about safety measures in the Uber app. This program will launch in 11 cities over the coming weeks, and more cities will be added soon. Read More
Using your phone while on the road is extremely dangerous. A safer way to stay connected is to use a hands-free kit. This is great if you want to make calls, but less helpful if you're dependent on the myriad of messaging services currently in use.
Enter Drivemode, which has been kicking around the Google Play Store for some time now. At a very fundamental level, it provides a gesture interface for a number of apps and system functions, essentially allowing you to safely use your phone without even looking at the screen. It also supports the composition and sending of SMS messages through voice recognition. Read More
The new Waze app has been in the works for a few months, and now it's finally ready to be unveiled. Waze 4.0 takes a lot of cues from the iOS version released back in October, both visually and functionally. It boasts a fresh new look, quick access to your frequent destinations, an improved driving experience, a new way to quickly share your ETA with friends and family, and plenty more features. Read More
Electronics and cars are a tricky combination. While the advantages of systems like in-dash navigation and text-to-speech SMS reading are obvious, every extra gadget that travels with you while you're driving has the potential to be a dangerous distraction. Google may be looking to solve that problem, at least as it applies to wearable devices like Android Wear watches. A recent patent published by the USPTO indicates that Google has developed (or at least conceptualized) a system for detecting whether a wearable user is actively driving the vehicle or merely a passenger.
US patent number 9,037,125 was filed on April 7th of last year, credited to Mohammed Waleed Kadous and assigned to Google. Read More