Google Android Auto in a BMW

One of the better things about the old Android Auto, before it got redesigned, was its Google Feed-like home screen that offered useful things like your upcoming Google Calendar events. The latest version of Android Auto points to your car regaining its Google Calendar smarts, including navigation shortcuts.

About APK Insight: In this ‘APK Insight’ post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

Google Calendar

Last year, Google launched a massive overhaul of the Android Auto interface shown on your car’s display, which, despite making important changes, our Ben Schoon described as Android Auto losing its “smarts.”

In the “original” Android Auto, the homescreen would display any ongoing navigation and your currently playing music, but it would also show notifications and more. Notifications are still accessible in the new Android Auto through the “bell” icon on the left side of the display. However, the calendar-based navigation reminders and predictive Google Maps destinations are no longer there. There’s also no longer a dedicated card to show the weather, either.

That’s a shame, as the whole point of Android Auto and systems like it is to make life easier. I’ve often gone on trips and had Android Auto show me a reminder based on a calendar event that saved me from looking up the address on my phone. With that functionality gone, Android Auto feels slightly less useful and convenient than it was before.

Google has slowly been working on addressing these complaints, having since brought a weather widget to the Android Auto redesign. However, deeper integration with Google Calendar is still sorely lacking.

Currently, Android Auto’s Google Calendar is a simple shortcut to ask the Google Assistant for info about your upcoming events. Instead of a visual interface, the Assistant simply reads your Calendar aloud. The only other Calendar integration is that Android Auto’s Maps app will usually display destinations from your upcoming events when choosing a navigation destination.

Over the weekend, the Android Auto app got an update from version 5.3 to 5.4 via the Google Play Store. In it, we learn that some fan favorite features from Google Calendar will be returning to Android Auto, including the ability to begin navigating to the location listed on your upcoming events.

<string name=”calendar_education_tooltip”>Try the new Calendar app to view, navigate to, and call numbers in your events</string>

Based on the way it’s phrased, we’re thinking the returning Google Calendar integration will come from an update to the Google Calendar app instead of an Android Auto update. That said, even with the latest version of Google Calendar (2020.20.3-314700972), the Calendar “app” in Android Auto is still just a Google Assistant shortcut instead of a full-blown app.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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