A report from Android Police reveals that the navigation app would be the key piece of the entire experience, but a navigation bar at the bottom of the screen would let users quickly access the voice input for commands powered by Google Assistant. Furthermore, a dedicated sub-menu would make it possible to launch a dashboard screen that would provide access to more apps like YouTube Music, Spotify, calls, and messages.
In other words, Google Maps more or less turns into the new Android Auto for phones, with one big difference: support for other navigation apps obviously isn’t offered, so you won’t be able to run Waze in the Google Maps driving mode.
The bottom navigation bar also seems to be inspired by Android Auto, so technically, users can switch from one screen to another in a matter of seconds and with just a tap.
By the looks of things, Google also insists on YouTube Music in this new Google Maps experience, and this makes perfect sense since the company has already killed off Google Play Music and tries to push users to this app. However, YouTube Music still lacks key features, and it currently requires a subscription for everything on Android Auto, including for listening to a library that users already own.
For the time being, this new Google Maps driving mode appears to be in its early stages, and it is not currently available for testing. Sooner or later, however, it’s likely to go live in the beta build of the app, at which point we’ll be able to figure out how Google Maps is set to become the new Android Auto for phones.