Google Assistant Driving Mode isn’t dead, but it’s now just a bar | Phones

Google Assistant Driving Mode 1.jpg

Earlier this month, Google announced it was deprecating a slew of Assistant features. One of those removals was the “App Launcher” in Assistant Driving Mode, which most people assumed was the entire experience. Google tells us that is not the case, and here’s what will be left of Assistant Driving Mode after February 7.

In short, Assistant Driving Mode is the black bar that appears at the bottom of Google Maps when you’re navigating. At the moment, it can feature a microphone, shortcut to return to Maps, and a 2×2 grid icon

That opens a launcher with a grid of apps and call/messaging shortcuts. This includes first-party apps like Google Maps, Waze, YouTube Music, Play Books, and Podcasts, as well as Spotify, Pandora, Telegram, and other third-party experiences on your device. The media apps let you browse for songs and other content, while you also got a fullscreen now playing UI.

Those apps, along with the launcher, are going away on February 7. It follows Google removing the Driving Mode Dashboard in 2022, which was meant to replace the beloved Android Auto for Phone Screens.

What will remain is that black bar, with the primary purpose of Google Assistant Driving Mode being fast access to voice commands. There are no changes to how you launch it.

Additionally (and fortunately), you will still have access to quick media controls above the black bar. We’ve asked Google whether users will be able to access Waze in the future.

So, as Google explained to us today, Assistant Driving Mode is technically not going away. However, Driving Mode was the Launcher and those apps for the vast majority of people.

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