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01 December 2018, 12:42 | Jodi Jackson
Android Auto adds media and messaging features
The company is updating two core parts of the Android Auto experience: communication and media. An improved layout, featuring large album art views, lets you quickly identify and select something to play.
The update includes a new message preview feature, an updated media user interface, voice search tweaks, and group messaging. Simply can say "OK Google, play Linkin Park" and you'll immediately be able to view more categorized search results from your app on your car's screen. Spotify, iHeartRadio and Google Play Music have already completed their integrations with the new features (Pocket Casts seems to work already as well), but other media apps will continue to work with just the basic play/pause features as before. You can also ask for a specific song, podcast, or book.
The new search features were something that escaped us yesterday but Google have outlined the improvements they have made to the voice search capabilities. When messages arrive, Android Auto can show you a short preview of the text when your vehicle is stopped.
Is there anything you'd like to see Google bring to Android Auto in the future? If you don't have it enabled, try closing the Google Play Store from the Recents menu and reloading, or clearing data in system settings. In many cases this removes multiple taps from the media search experience, which is critical in the vehicle.
Google has also added support for apps that use MMS and RCS, so users can take advantage of apps Messages, Hangouts, and WhatsApp with group messaging. Google says that this update is rolling out today and should be fully available to everyone over the next several days, so keep an eye out for it.
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