Google Assistant’s new Driving Mode expands outside of the US
Google is expanding the long-awaited Assistant Driving Mode to more markets. The feature first started seeding to Android users in October last year. However, at the time, it was limited to the US market only. But that finally seems to be changing as Google is seemingly making the feature available in more countries.
As spotted by Android Police, Google’s support page no longer states that the Assistant Driving Mode is “only available in English in the US.” Instead, the page now mentions, “Some features aren’t available in all languages or countries.” This means the feature is no longer US-exclusive and is likely available in multiple markets — although the page fails to explicitly state which countries. Android Police was able to confirm that the feature is available in the UK at least.
Originally announced at Google I/O 2019, the Assistant Driving Mode is seen as a replacement for the Android Auto app. Like Android Auto, the Assistant Driving Mode allows users to make and receive calls, listen to music, send/receive messages, and so on while driving. The Assistant-powered driving mode is superior in that it lets you do all the above things hands-free using voice commands. That means you don’t have to touch your phone and can stay focused on driving.
In the Google Maps app, you can navigate to Settings > Navigation Settings > Google Assistant settings to see if the Assistant Driving Mode is available for you. If the feature has rolled out on your device, you should see the new Driving mode page open up on the next screen. It should look something like this:
It wasn’t available on any of my Android phones running the latest version of Google Maps and Google app here in India. If you live outside the US and have received the new driving mode in the Google Maps app, let us know in the comments section below.
Update 1: List of Early Preview launch countries
On a support page, a community manager at Google has announced that the early preview of Google Assistant driving mode is now rolling out to Android users in Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, India, and Singapore. Your phone must run Android 9 Pie or later and must have 4GB or more of RAM. Your system language must also be set to English at the moment.