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Google Sunsetting Assistant Driving Mode Dashboard

Google's car-optimized dashboard for Android is being shut down, but Google Maps Driving Assistant will remain.

Google Sunsetting Assistant Driving Mode Dashboard

Google will shut down its Assistant Driving Mode Dashboard on November 21, according to a report by 9to5Google.

Initially announced at I/O 2019 as a replacement for Android Auto, which was discontinued last year, the dashboard was designed to provide users with some of their smartphone’s functionality while driving.

By discontinuing Assistant Driving Mode, Google no longer has a direct successor to Android Auto.

Assistant Driving Mode Provides Hands-Free Smartphone Functionality

Assistant Driving Mode features a dashboard with Google Assistant, a music player, volume controls, and buttons for making a call or sending a message. It can be accessed either via the homescreen shortcut or by verbally instructing Google Assistant to launch Assistant Driving Mode.

It is intended to allow people to perform the most common smartphone tasks, e.g., navigating, texting, and playing music using their voice alone. This, in turn, will hopefully reduce distractions while driving and prevent accidents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, distracted driving is responsible for nine deaths in the United States every day.

Most Android Devices Using Assistant in Google Maps Already

While Google is shutting down Assistant Driving Mode, the similarly named Driving Mode in Google Maps will remain. This provides Android users with a car-optimized Google Maps experience.

The Dashboard tool uses a tile format for navigation, while the Maps version uses a combination of a tabbed and grid layout. Both provide access to the microphone used for Google Assistant commands.

According to 9to5Google, the reason the tech giant was shutting down Assistant Driving Mode was that the majority of using the Maps version. Due to the similarity in names and functionality, some may not even have realized the Assistant version existed.

The Assistant Driving Mode Dashboard was seen as a downgrade by many in the community, with some suggesting it was never intended to be a permanent replacement, but instead was a stopgap measure to gradually convert Android Auto users to Google Maps.

As the two apps are share so much functionality, Google may have decided there was no reason for both to exist.

Google Moving Away From Non-Voice Assist Technology

The sunsetting of Driving Mode is the latest in a series of moves Google Assistant has made to shift away from functionality that is not solely built around voice assistant. Other projects that have been abandoned include Snapshot, which provided Android users with a quick summary of their day’s most important tasks, and Smart Display Games, which allowed for third-party apps that use both touch and voice input to offer games on the Nest Hub.


Featured image: Shutterstock/DenPhotos

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