Google Maps Update Brings Surprise Interface Makeover on Android Auto for Phones

Google has silently released a new interface makeover for Google Maps when the app runs on Android Auto on a mobile device (not on the car’s head unit).
New rounded buttons in Google Maps on Android Auto for phones 4 photos
Photo: autoevolution
Polished Google Maps UI on Android Auto for phonesPolished Google Maps UI on Android Auto for phonesPolished Google Maps UI on Android Auto for phones
In other words, if you launch Android Auto on your phone and then start the navigation with Google Maps, you should now see a more polished UI that comes in line with the one of the mobile app and Android Auto itself.

And what’s more, the experience in the landscape mode has also been refined, so even if your car’s head unit does not support Android Auto, you can just use the stand-alone app on your device to mimic the experience you’d get on a larger screen.

The most noticeable change concerns the way navigation instructions are now displayed on the screen. While the original version of Google Maps ate up the upper part of the display with a green layer that indicated which way to go, the new UI relies on a popup approach that uses a floating banner with rounded corners to show the same information.

This means that you now see more information on the map itself, and the available screen estate is used in a more efficient manner.

Google has also polished the buttons in the main UI and all now use rounded corners too – this is part of Google’s new design language, and to be honest, everything looks and feels more modern now.

While it’s clearly a good thing that the Mountain View-based search giant has further polished the experience here on Android Auto on mobile phones, the question is how many Google Maps users actually turn to this mode for navigation.

Right now, it’s pretty clear that using Google Maps in the standard mode on mobile phones is the most convenient approach, while the majority of people with Android Auto and CarPlay support in their cars connect their devices to head units for a more driving-optimized experience in the first place.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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