At Google I/O in May, Google had a few announcements in regards to Android Auto. Although none of them were mentioned in the actual keynote. Google decided that it was time to make Android Auto a standalone app. Meaning that you won't need to buy a car with Android Auto built in, nor would you need to buy an aftermarket head unit for it. Instead, you can mount your smartphone to the dashboard and have the same experience. Google is also working with car makers to create Android Auto apps. One of the ones shown off at Google I/O was with Hyundai. It was an app that would show you all sorts of information about your vehicle, right there in the center console. But that was about it for Android Auto at Google I/O.
After Google I/O, it was seen that Android Auto was a few steps ahead of Apple CarPlay – as is usually the case. However, with Apple's WorldWide Developer Conference happening this week, Apple announced a few changes to CarPlay, which brings it more inline with their competitor, Android Auto. Like Android Auto, CarPlay was also not mentioned in the keynote on Monday. But CarPlay got a few new features. Including the ability to integrate with the instrument cluster on your dashboard, so that it can show you navigation there, instead of having you look at the center console or waiting for the directions to come across your speaker system. Google has something similar to this already in Android Auto.
Another feature is actually in an update to Apple Maps. It will tell you where you parked your car. Basically, it knows when your phone disconnects from the car via Bluetooth, and will remember where you parked at that time. That way when you go to the mall, you don't have to remember where you parked. Maps can also guide users back to their car with this "Parked Car" feature. Now Google doesn't have this feature in Android Auto, but it can't be too far out.
That was really all that Apple announced for CarPlay. They are still a bit behind Google, overall, when it comes to the interface in the car – especially since music can't natively run in the background in CarPlay – but there are some useful features here that Google must be thinking about adding to Android Auto. Of course, one of those is likely the ability to use Android Auto wirelessly. Something that CarPlay added last year. However, with Android Auto going to a standalone app later this summer, it definitely is a step or two ahead of Apple, at least for now.