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Google Officially Announces New Android Auto Features

Android Auto 6.1 ended up becoming the big update we’ve all been waiting for, coming with wallpaper support and shortcuts on the home screen.
Trivia on Android Auto 1 photo
Photo: Google
But while the rollout officially started earlier this month, Google is only now publishing an announcement for the new major Android Auto update, thus providing us with more details on what’s included in the latest release. As it turns out, there’s also a little something we didn’t know Google had actually introduced in Android Auto.

First and foremost, Google has announced the new wallpaper support in Android Auto. Thanks to this addition, users can now select a different background for the Android Auto home screen, and while some people don’t believe this is something useful given they spend the most time in apps like Google Maps and Spotify, others simply love it because it makes the UI feel fresh.

To change the wallpaper in Android Auto, all it takes is to open the settings menu right in the app and then choose one of the preloaded backgrounds. There’s no support for third-party background at this point.

Then, Google is introducing shortcuts, which users can create and pin right to the home screen.

These provide convenient access to your contacts and even allow you to use Assistant to complete tasks like checking the weather or remotely adjusting the thermostat by simply tapping on the icon on your car display, just as you would on your phone,” Google explains.

Android Auto now comes with improved widescreen support, too, allowing users to configure a split-screen UI that shows a real-time view of Google Maps and media controls. Privacy improvements have also been included in this update to configure when you want Android Auto to show up on the head unit.

Finally, Android Auto now supports voice-activated games, and launching them is only possible with a voice command. Just say, “Hey Google, play a game,” and Android Auto should then launch games like Trivia and Jeopardy.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

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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