Android Auto makes it simple to get your infotainment necessities in a variety of vehicles and international locations with out having to manually fiddle with settings and even learn to use a brand new consumer interface when switching autos. It integrates seamlessly with many automotive head models, and even allows you to use your favourite navigation software program or choose media apps whereas driving. For probably the most half, it is an awesome expertise. It additionally depends on Assistant to assist out whereas driving and may even present suggestions to make your journey smoother and aid you hold your eyes on the street.
However Android Auto and Google Maps typically drive me nuts (pun supposed), which frequently lead me again to my automotive’s otherwise-inferior infotainment system — or simply my phone-in-hand, which is not nice for security. Listed below are my Android Auto nitpicks.
Bear in mind I am sharing a private opinion and never attempting to undermine Google’s strategy to security. Nevertheless, the corporate has intentionally restricted options which can be far more handy to make use of on a daily Android cellphone, or typically even a automotive’s system itself. There are even apps that will help you use your cellphone extra safely whereas driving, so why not merely carry some present Android options on the automotive’s display, as a substitute of limiting them.
All of us need to peak a display whereas driving, such because the sprint to observe our velocity, and even look on the head unit to search out our approach. So long as we’re not staring and fidgeting with the display all through the entire journey, it must be secure to make a few of the under options extra usable on a journey.
1. Planning an itinerary
If you happen to’re merely going to a selected location and needn’t evaluate your route, Google Maps does a wonderful job on Android Auto. Nevertheless, it is notably dangerous at supplying you with an outline of the potential choices to contemplate, regardless of doing it brilliantly on a cellphone. Positive, you’ll be able to nonetheless evaluate the assorted choices, however this requires an additional faucet whereas driving, as a substitute of displaying the choices earlier than beginning the steerage.
Worse, issues get far more sophisticated when you plan on including a cease, whether or not it is to refuel, eat, and even to halt at a selected place. A straightforward instance is planning for a pit cease: Whereas it is comparatively simple to do in your cellphone utilizing the Search alongside route function, issues aren’t well-designed on Android Auto: As a substitute of displaying locations alongside your route, it’ll show locations near you, however not essentially in your approach. It additionally will not present all of the choices and solely checklist a number of on the left. There’s additionally no method to pan and browse the map to pick the one you wish to cease at. Worse, you can also’t faucet a dot to instantly navigate to it.
This design choice was made to keep away from letting drivers have a look at their shows for too lengthy, nevertheless it usually finally ends up taking the main focus from the street for for much longer to determine the place to go.
What’s much more annoying is that the motive force cannot ask a passenger for assist, as there isn’t any method to open Google Maps on the linked cellphone whereas driving, whereas you are able to do that on an iPhone utilizing CarPlay. This is able to have been an effective way at hand your handset to somebody close by to do some planning safely and add the subsequent cease to the itinerary proven on the automotive’s primary display.
2. Coming into an deal with
It makes good sense you should not be writing a textual content message whereas driving, particularly not in your automotive’s display. Nevertheless, most vehicles allow you to enter an deal with or seek for a POI, even when you’re driving. Positive, it is all about preserving your concentrate on the street and solely coming into a number of letters when wanted, however Android Auto won’t even permit that whereas driving. As a substitute, it desires you both shift into park or put the parking break on to sort in any type of textual content. It could make extra sense to test your velocity and allow you to sort in an deal with whereas stopped at a visitors mild with out requiring you to undergo that a lot trouble, which is analogous to how Apple’s CarPlay platform handles textual content enter. Despite the fact that it’s far much less secure, I typically find yourself unplugging my cellphone, typing in what I would like to search out, and plugging it again in for steerage.
Issues should not be so sophisticated, particularly not when driving. Though it is honest for Google to wish to make them secure, it ought to apply widespread sense in relation to typing in a number of letters and suggesting the fitting vacation spot.
Now, you may argue that Google’s voice recognition system is nice, and one should not need to sort in an deal with. Sadly, this does not work for quite a lot of locations, primarily in relation to advanced road names or factors of curiosity which can be exhausting to interpret, particularly exterior the US.
3. Location Sharing
A function I notably love in Google Maps is the flexibility to share my location and itinerary. Not solely does this allow you to ship your present location, but additionally your ETA, which can robotically be up to date in response to visitors circumstances. Though you are able to do this with Android Auto, you’ll be able to solely share your journey with Google Maps contacts. It could have been much more handy to ship a textual content or WhatsApp message to any contact saved in your deal with guide.
The function’s there, nevertheless it’s simply not correctly applied to make sense when driving. Worse, as talked about above, you’ll be able to’t even do it — or ask a passenger to do it for you — out of your cellphone, as a result of Maps will not open on the handset when utilizing Android Auto.
Though Google has improved the way it handles messages because of Good Replies, it nonetheless wants some work. First, you’ll be able to’t learn a message in your automotive’s display and may solely ask Google to learn it out loud. To be honest, I am fairly impressed at the way it’s been in a position to acknowledge somebody wrote to me in French and mentioned “Message from [Sender]” earlier than studying it in French, after which asking me in English if I needed to answer, brilliantly switching from one language to the opposite. That being mentioned, it might present the message on the display, albeit for a restricted time, making it simpler to decipher issues like names, addresses, codes, and so on. For now, it may possibly solely present a fast preview of the primary phrases. Many vehicles do this, together with for SMS and e mail, so why not Android Auto?
There’s additionally an choice to ask Assistant to learn your messages aloud even after receiving the notification, however the checklist is simply restricted to those you’ve got acquired throughout the present drive… Why impose this limitation when it is easy to retrieve all of your conversations? The motive force is prone to peak on the message on the cellphone whereas driving as a substitute of studying it later.
What’s notably ridiculous — and to be honest, it isn’t completely Google’s fault — is how WhatsApp voice messages are dealt with. They’re in all probability probably the most handy type of communication out there when driving, as you’ll be able to hearken to a recording by way of the audio system and even file your individual to answer. However there is no approach to do this with Android Auto, and you will have to succeed in in your cellphone to both hearken to or ship one, which makes completely no sense when it comes to security and value. In fact, you should use dictation to ship a message, however Google nonetheless misinterprets some phrases and finally ends up sending gibberish or unintended messages, whereas it might merely file a snippet of your voice and allow you to ship it by way of WhatsApp and even RCS.
5. Music or Podcasts
Whether or not you are utilizing Spotify or YouTube Music, the general expertise is kind of good, particularly if you are going to hearken to suggestions or a playlist. Nevertheless, issues change into more durable when asking for a selected tune, as Google Assistant understands what it desires to listen to. To be honest, it usually will get the observe proper, however what if you need an acoustic or dwell model? Why is not there an inventory that pops up with three to 5 choices to select from? Even worse, what when you’re in search of a selected podcast in a sequence? It is exhausting to argue that this could pose a security risk, in comparison with all of the choices you’ll be able to browse from in a contemporary automotive’s infotainment system, even whereas driving.
6. Incident reporting
Like with Waze, Google Maps lets customers report visitors incidents comparable to crashes, slowdowns, lane closures, velocity traps, and so on. It does, so long as you are utilizing your cellphone, that’s, because the function is not out there on Android Auto. The entire level of reporting these incidents is to do it dwell when driving to warn different street customers of potential hazards. What’s even more durable to grasp is that Waze does provide this function by way of Android Auto, however Maps would not… It is like Google would not need customers to share their insights with one another.
7. Telephone temperature
Though this is not a giant deal, Android telephones are inclined to get actually heat when used wirelessly with an Android Auto head unit. They’re additionally comparatively gradual and laggy to make use of and lose a variety of battery, actually quick, which is why I choose plugging my cellphone in slightly than utilizing it wirelessly. Issues change into notably heated when utilizing your automotive’s wi-fi charger and wi-fi Android Auto on the identical time, because the cellphone will forestall charging because of the excessive temperature.
Once more, if we examine this to Apple’s CarPlay, I have never seen an iPhone get extraordinarily heat and gradual when linked to a automotive’s infotainment system.
Do not get me fallacious right here: I do respect Android Auto — more often than not. It has been a lifesaver when renting a automotive or once I needed to navigate to a POI with out having to hassle looking for its deal with. It is also notably handy to hearken to podcasts or music on a every day commute, making it seamless to work together with a few of my favourite apps.
However there are occasions when it drives me loopy, and I want I had a dumb automotive mount as a substitute. The general thought is that the system limits what you are able to do in your automotive’s display, which in some conditions makes good sense within the identify of security, however in others, it encourages you to make use of your cellphone and even to disconnect from Android Auto, which is much much less secure than letting somebody use their automotive’s head unit.
My level is that taking a look at a display isn’t all the time harmful, so long as it’s executed consciously. All of us have a look at screens when driving, to observe our velocity, get instructions, change the radio station, and so on. So why prohibit so many actions when it will be easier to permit minor interactions, and maybe set a timeout that prompts you to take a look at the street after a number of seconds?
Many automotive producers permit customers to do many of the actions talked about above, together with studying textual content messages and even emails on the display whereas driving. If they permit it, they and varied different folks see it as being secure sufficient. Positive, it is commendable for Google to place security first, nevertheless it should not come as an excuse to restrict options, when another built-in methods permit these actions natively whereas driving. Even worse, lots of people use their cellphone whereas driving; wouldn’t it’s safer to take a look at your automotive display as a substitute of your cellphone?
I want Google did not restrict the choices so drastically and utilized a bit extra widespread sense as a substitute of limiting helpful options and making issues more durable when driving, a state of affairs wherein issues must be executed simply and easily, for max security.
This being mentioned, Google is continually engaged on making Android Auto higher. With a brand new interface, along with extra options and apps developing, Android Auto might change into much more useful whereas driving, with out having to compromise security.