Android Auto is becoming a selling point for cars nowadays, and to that end, it can definitely make or break what music service you use. Mind-bogglingly, Google just added support for Android Auto to YouTube Music this week. Let’s take a quick hands-on look.

Like most other music services that you can access by way of Android Auto, YouTube Music has a clean design that only has a few things on-screen at any given time. This is to ensure that drivers don’t get overly distracted while they pick out playlists or albums to jam out to.

The main “Now Playing” screen for YouTube Music on Android Auto contains play/pause, skip/previous, and repeat buttons. Interestingly, the shuffle button is buried under an overflow menu which also contains the thumbs up/down rating buttons.

Personally, I’d much rather have shuffle as a surface-level control, but it still works well enough. The full-screen album art, as always, is also a nice treat, and I feel it fits nicely with the red/white interface. I’ve not had a chance to test this at night, though, but presumably, the colors switch to dark mode as with the rest of Android Auto.

Getting my OG Pixel jams on

Pulling out the side menu, you’ll be greeted with “Your Mixtape,” “Recommended,” “Last Played,” and “Library” sections of the app. These are pretty self-explanatory, but I want to give Google some credit for how well the “Recommended” tab works on a car display.

With just two taps, I can easily access playlists full of music I like and have it streaming through my car’s speakers. Admittedly, I’m a Spotify user for the most part, but it felt quicker to access recommended tracks like this through YouTube Music’s interface than it does Spotify, at least in the car.

Beyond that, YouTube Music on Android Auto is pretty much the same as any other music service available on Google’s in-car platform. Animations are smooth and gorgeous, and it still looks way better than what you’d find on the car’s baked-in music player, or CarPlay (don’t @ me).

Version 3.03 of YouTube Music is rolling out now via the Google Play Store.

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Ben Schoon

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