Google's big developer conference (now referred to as a "festival") kicks off next week in Mountain View. Google is expected to announce quite a few new products and updates to their existing products, which we covered extensively in our Google I/O 2017 preview. Android Auto was announced at Google I/O three years ago, and since then, it's been pretty quiet at the event, so here's what to expect from the Android Auto team at Google I/O next week.
Android Auto doesn't get updates or changes quickly, and that's largely due to how slow the automotive industry is, but also due to the fact that Google is looking to make the experience so good that you keep your eyes on the road. In essence, they want to make your ride more comfortable, but also safer. Now last year, Google had announced that they were opening up Android Auto to the car makers, and allowing them to build apps for Android Auto, but so far none of them have launched. Hyundai had shown off a new app that allows you to keep tabs on your car through Android Auto, and call for roadside assistance. So we should see an update to that at this year's event.
Now as far as actual functionality goes, Android Auto likely won't see a lot of additions here. But Android O may be bringing some big changes to Android Auto. For instance, Android O will make Android Auto faster, due to the changes being made under-the-hood in the OS. A lot of the changes with Android O, in regards to Android Auto, are things that you won't necessarily see. Now there could be more coming to Android Auto in Android O, which we'll likely learn about next week. But one thing we would really like to see is Google Maps and Waze finally come together.
Google has steadily been adding Waze functionality to Maps for a while, basically ever since it closed the deal to buy the company. And it would be great to see them finally merge, or at least have both available in Android Auto. Waze is popular for making it easier to avoid traffic jams and construction. Something that Google Maps is somewhat good at, but not as good as Waze. This would be a big deal for Android Auto users, and something that Google needs to make happen sooner, rather than later. Especially if they want to make Android Auto really take off.
Not a lot is expected for Android Auto at Google I/O next week, but we are definitely excited to see what Google has to offer car enthusiasts at the event. We'll be there covering every inch of Google I/O next week, so you'll want to keep it locked to Android Headlines for all the details.