Google revealed further details about its Android Auto and Google built-in updates at this year’s CES tech exhibition.

    Revealed last May and originally set to be rolled out in the northern summer of 2022, the updates to the Android Auto smartphone mirroring application – codenamed Coolwalk – were delayed.

    Google now says it has started rolling out the update to all users, though this is being done in stages.

    While the headline act is the new, modular design revealed last year, there have been some other key updates made.

    If there’s a part of a song you can’t get enough of, you can now drag the progress bar instead of having to skip all the way back to the beginning.

    This likewise works when listening to podcasts. Previously you could only skip forward or back in 15 second increments, rather than being able to quickly skip to an entirely different segment.

    Google Assistant will now provide music recommendations and smart suggestions like missed call reminders and quick arrival time sharing, while Google says on-screen shortcuts are available for calling favourite contacts.

    Android Auto will also now support calls made via WhatsApp, though Google says this will initially be available only with “the latest Pixel and Samsung phones”.

    The refreshed look also supports a split-screen layout across all screen types and sizes, allowing you to have navigation and media information visible on the screen at the same time and saving you from having to endlessly toggle between apps.

    The maps segment will appear on the side closest to the driver, while a new quick launcher feature includes shortcuts to recently used apps.

    Google has also announced some further updates to its Google built-in system, currently used by vehicles across the Volvo and Polestar ranges as well as models not yet offered here by Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Honda and Renault.

    Waze is now available on select Renault vehicles using Google built-in, and will be rolled out to vehicles from other brands.

    Google’s new HD map will be available first in the Volvo EX90 and Polestar 3 before it, too, will be rolled out to other vehicles.

    The HD map includes precise road details like lane markers, signs and road barriers to support manufacturers’ autonomous driving technology.

    Cars with Google Built-in now support the Tubi and MGM+ streaming apps for when you want to watch something as your EV charges, and Google promises YouTube and other apps will soon be available.

    Google has also introduced the ability to share BMW Digital Keys between iPhones and Google Pixels, with key sharing coming soon to Samsung phones.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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