February 25, 2021

Android Auto is getting road-friendly games and a new privacy mode


The last month has been really exciting for Android Auto users. Between the addition of custom shortcuts, the return of Google Assistant routines, and interchangeable wallpapers, the features have really been rolling out. But the team isn’t done yet, there are some new things planned for release this week. If you are an Auto user, you can look forward to playing voice-controlled Google Assistant games, better support for extra-wide screens, and a Privacy Screen to control how much Auto shows.

Whether you’re stuck in a traffic jam or taking a long road trip through the middle of nowhere, sometimes you need a little diversion to keep yourself sane. To combat boredom — or to supplement a dull conversation — Google Assistant games will now be available directly through Android Auto. To begin, just give the command, “play a game.”

There’s no long list of games to browse through in the car, but you can ask to play just about anything that’s already available through Google Assistant on your phone, like Trivia Crack and Jeopardy. Naturally, Auto won’t allow any games that require looking at or touching the screen. Be aware, the game keeps a window active in the lower portion of the screen, and it sorta obstructs navigation. As always, be safe and don’t play a game if it will take your concentration away from the road.

If your car happens to be equipped with an extra-wide screen, Android Auto is also going to make better use of that real estate. A new screen layout is coming that splits up this space to allow navigation and music controls to be visible at the same time. This keeps the two most common views on the screen at all times so there’s no need to switch back and forth.

And finally, a new feature called Privacy Screen is being added to keep Auto from launching on a car until your phone is unlocked. This will prevent people from snooping through some of the private information that can appear in some screens, like recent call history and saved places in Maps.

Google is rolling out these features over the next few days, so you might have them by the weekend, if not sooner.

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