Google announced a revamp to Android Auto back at Google I/O in May. It said that the update would start rolling out later this summer. And what do you know, today, Google started rolling it out.
Users are able to check out the new version by going into the Settings of the Android Auto companion app and flipping the switch for the "Try the new Android Auto". It also mentions that this is for the car screen only and not for the version of Android Auto that runs on your phone. Now you can also opt to wait until the update is fully pushed out to you and stick with the old version for now. Which might be a good idea, if this new one does still have a few bugs.
There's a few changes with this version of Android Auto. Of course, the big one is that there is now a full-time dark mode. Previously with Android Auto, it would switch to a dark mode when your headlights were on, or if it was dark outside. So sometimes when you go into a parking garage or under a bridge, it would quickly switch to a dark mode. Now, it is always dark.
Google also added an app drawer to the system. So now you can tap on the home button and open the app drawer, making it work a bit more like your phone would. This makes it easier to find a specific music app you want to use, or even a messaging app.
The navigation bar has also been redesigned. On the right, there is a microphone for Google Assistant, with a Notification bell next to that. The left has what looks like a home button, that will take you home or open the app drawer. In the center, you'll find apps like music or Google Maps minimized when you're in a different app.
The way this works is that if you are in a navigation app like Google Maps or Waze, but you also have music playing, the music will be in the navigation bar, allowing you to quickly see what song is playing. You can also decide to go back, play/pause or skip to the next song. You could also tap on it and open the music app.
It's a pretty big redesign, and it's one that Android Auto users are going to have to get used too. But it's going to be for the better. The redesigned interface here is aimed at making it easier to switch between apps, without having to take your eyes off of the road for long. That's what Android Auto is all about. Giving you less distractions instead of more distractions.
This rollout does not seem to be limited to any specific make and model or model year of cars. Just any car that has Android Auto support. As it appears that the rollout is happening from the Android Auto app. Making it easier for Google to roll it out to everyone all at once. Instead of waiting for car makers to push out the update. As we all know, car makers are not fast.