Back at I/O 2018, Google announced that Assistant was coming to Google Maps. Specifically, a visually compact and less disruptive version would appear when getting directions. This navigation-optimized Google Assistant is now rolling out in Google Maps for Android.

Google Assistant in Google Maps was billed as “having a lower visual profile” to ensure that users are focussed on driving. You can say the “Ok Google” hotword or tap the multi-colored microphone in the top-right corner to activate it.

This will slide up a compact bar that covers the panel noting your arrival time and distance estimate, as well as other navigation controls. During daylight hours, the Google Assistant icon and animation is displayed against a white backdrop, while the panel conforms to navigation’s usual night mode with a dark background.

Commands will run in the background, and keep users in Google Maps. One user on Reddit noted how phone calls now just initiate without the dialer opening. Users can also issue commands like texting, playing music, and more from Assistant without having to leave navigation mode.

At I/O, Google noted that this navigation-optimized Assistant was rolling out this summer. It’s unclear when the feature exactly launched, but is now rolling out to the current stable version (10.4.1) of Google Maps for Android and the Google app.

This feature comes amid a slew of other Google Assistant launches last week. Pretty Please, also announced in May, rolled out, along with Broadcast Replies and notes/list app integration.

Meanwhile, Google Maps recently added business messaging and the ability to follow stores for updates. Other new features include a Commute tab with music playback controls.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: