Google held the Google I/O 2024 yesterday, where it made a host of interesting announcements, largely focused on AI and bringing Gemini to its other products. During the conference, the company also unveiled its upcoming plans for its in-car services, including Android Auto and Android Automotive OS.

Google says that over 200 million cars on the road are Android Auto compatible, while about 40 car models offer Google built-in – its suite of apps on the Android Automotive OS. The company announced that it is bringing new features, apps, and more, to cars using Google services. It’s also making it easy for developers to make their apps compatible with cars.

Android Auto and Android Automotive OS Are About To Get New Apps and Features

Google has announced updates to its entire catalog of in-car services. For Android Auto, it has made the Uber app available, allowing drivers to access the app from their car screens directly. It will be quite helpful for drivers, as they can now accept rides and orders and navigate to places using their car’s larger display without having to rely on their phones as much.

YouTube video

For cars with Android Automotive OS, the company is introducing Google Cast. It will initially be made available in Rivian vehicles, and subsequently expand to other manufacturers. You’ll be able to stream video content from your iOS or Android phone to your car easily, but only when it is parked. The feature will also benefit developers, as users could stream video content from their apps to cars even if they don’t offer a casting feature.

Android Auto Is Getting A Bunch More Apps 5
Image: Google

Furthermore, for cars with Google built-in (a marketing term for cars running Android Automotive OS with licensed Google services), Google has announced that entertainment apps like Max and Peacock will be made available soon. Seung Nam, Product Manager at Google, says that “any developer can bring their video apps to cars with Google built-in.” Some games will also make their way, starting with Angry Birds.

New Car App Quality Tiers for Developers

Google says that developers face different challenges when building apps for cars, owing to safety considerations, various screen sizes, etc. Hence, it is actively developing tools to alleviate this burden on developers. The company has introduced new quality tiers for apps, enabling developers to evaluate their app’s support for cars based on each tier’s specific criteria. The three tiers are as follows:

  • Tier 3 – Car ready: This is the most basic tier, as apps eligible for it need to meet the basic requirements. The apps need to be large-screen compatible and can only be used while the car is parked. Also, they don’t necessarily need to have any car-specific features.
  • Tier 2 – Car optimized: Apps falling under this tier need car-specific capabilities, and can be used both while driving or when the car is parked.
  • Tier 1: Car differentiated: This tier includes apps that are most compatible with cars and can work while the car is parked or on the move. These apps can also work on most of the car’s screens, including the center console, instrument cluster, etc.

    Car-Ready Mobile Apps Program To Help Developers Bring Their Apps to Cars

    Android Auto
    Image: Google

    Google has also announced a “Car ready mobile apps program.” This program, developed in collaboration with car manufacturers, will reduce the workload on developers to bring their apps to cars.

    Google will review apps that are “adaptive and large-screen compatible”, and if they meet the safety and compatibility criteria and other guidelines, it will automatically opt to make them available on Android Auto and distribute them on cars with Google built-in. The program will roll out soon.

    Google has also introduced new tools for developers. There’s a new emulator on which developers can test their apps for different screen sizes. It will allow them to set the emulator’s screen size to that of a car’s screen, ensuring the apps work well on the cars. Using these emulators will relieve the developers from testing their apps on real cars.

    Android Auto Is Getting A Bunch More Apps 6
    Image: Google

    Besides, the company has also announced new app categories for apps for both Android Auto and cars with Google built-in. Overall, Google looks positive about the future of its in-car services, and these new feature additions will benefit both the users and the developers.

    Hinshal is a tech journalist with over five years of experience. Before joining Talk Android, he has worked with several other popular publications like Digital Trends and Android Police. He can talk about tech all day, but he has to spare some time to write about it too. He also loves anime, video games, and photography.

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