According to a report from 9to5Google, Google is discontinuing Driving Mode, a standalone Assistant-powered dashboard that provides quick access to music controls, contacts, directions, and other shortcuts while you’re driving. The function, which Google first unveiled at I/O in 2019, wasn’t made available until last year, and as of November 21st, it will be sunsetted.
The Driving Mode function incorporated into Google Maps, which launches as navigation begins, should not be mistaken with the standalone version of Driving Mode. Google integrated Assistant Driving Mode to Maps before it ever released the standalone Driving Mode, as Esper’s Mishaal Rahman notes.
The standalone version can be accessed with voice commands like “Hey Google, activate Driving Mode” or by hitting the Driving Mode shortcut on your phone’s home screen. This is the sole distinction between the two. You may still use Driving Mode’s functionality when it closes down by launching Google Maps’ navigation, which is presumably what most users have been doing already.
For individuals who might not have a car with an Android Auto-compatible digital navigation centre, its closure is quite disappointing. The “Android Auto for Phone Screens” software, which Google discontinued with Android 12, was planned to be replaced by the independent Driving Mode service.