Last week, Google finally made it possible to bring third-party navigation apps to Android Auto without requiring a beta version. The company promoted a list of new driving services coming alongside the change, including TomTom AmiGo. If you're looking to switch away from Google Maps or Waze, a new update to AmiGo adds Android Auto support to display on your car's infotainment system.
Until now, Google Maps and Waze (also owned by Google) were the only navigation apps to be fully supported on Android Auto — others were restricted to the phone interface. This is now changing as popular alternative Sygic becomes one of the first third-party navigation apps to have native support for Android Auto.
Yesterday Google highlighted several great new features coming to Maps, but the company left one little detail out of its announcement: The compass is back. The classic orienteering widget is back by popular demand, and it's about as reliable as ever.
Google Maps is easily one of the company's most successful products. The era of using a paper guide or linear follow-them-or-get-lost MapQuest directions is long over. And though some competing services like Apple Maps might be prettier, Google Maps is king when it comes to functionality, tools, and services integrations. But the best-of-the-best is getting better this summer, and Google is rolling out a handful of new tools and tweaks, like indoor AR navigation, weather and air quality information, grocery pickup integration, and tweaks to reduce your dead-dinosaur-burning car's carbon footprint.
Living in a small town crisscrossed by train tracks is a recipe frustration if you need to get anywhere in a hurry. Google knows this, and is starting to integrate railroad crossing info into Google Maps navigation. The feature isn't official yet, but it's showing up for a few users.
Google has been teasing a dark theme for Maps for over a year now, and it even briefly rolled out to a few people, but it was never properly formalized or acknowledged officially. That changed last month when Google finally announced that dark mode is coming, and now, it's starting to roll out more widely.
Google is always working on improving its Android apps and the operating system itself, heavily relying on public a/b tests that appear on some people's phones but not on others. But every once in a while, the company takes the time to announce some features formally, and today is another one of those days. Google is making a whole slew of known tests and a few brand-new changes official.
In the past, if I needed to use Street View, I usually tried to hop on my desktop. While the Street View function in Android's Google Maps did work, it would often be confusing to use, simply because I couldn't see where I was going. Google has finally added a split-view mode for Street View on Android, making the feature a lot easier to use.
More than a year ago, Google announced that the Assistant Driving Mode was supposed to replace the Android Auto interface on phones. It looks like the company ran into significant problems with the software because it took it many months to make good on its promise. The new Driving Mode is only now starting to roll out to more people in the US as an early preview.
Google has started making it easier to navigate to work and favorite locations with the addition of the Commute tab back in 2018. More recently, it considered replacing it with a Go tab, which encompasses the latter and a few other options to take you to places you're most likely to go, as well as list the closest transit lines, stations, and stops. The company seems satisfied with its test, as it's now rolling it out globally.