In the first major update since Android Auto was released almost two years ago, Google is starting to deliver on some of the new features they unveiled during their developer conference in May. While we are still waiting for Waze and wireless support to become available here are four notable new features in Android Auto v2.0:
1. Facebook Messenger
Adding to the list of messaging apps able to send and receive text messages through Android Auto’s voice commands, the ever so popular Facebook Messenger is now available to use.
2. Shortcut to Browse Playlists by Name
Navigating playlists while driving can be very distracting but with this much needed addition it will be much easier to search your playlists by keywords.
When using Android Auto compatible audio apps, a button will show up on the top right corner, when pressed it will bring up a keyboard to let you search.
3. “OK Google” Voice Commands
Utilizing an always-listen mode when connected to Android Auto, you will be able to initiate voice commands simply by saying “Ok Google” instead of pressing the microphone button on the screen or using the steering wheel controls.
While at launch this feature is not enabled, it will become available in the upcoming weeks. For those that have privacy concerns you will be able to disable this feature.
4. Android Auto as a Standalone App
Removing the requirement to have an Android Auto compatible head unit in your car, you can now use your phone as the main display instead. Not all Android Auto function will work though, such as steering wheel audio controls.