Another day, another shuttered Google project. What did you expect to wake up to today? A Google spokesperson told 9to5Google directly this week that it would be “sunsetting” its Assistant Driving Mode Dashboard. After the removal of Android Auto for phones, the Driving Dashboard was the company’s attempt at keeping a dedicated navigation experience for handsets mounted in vehicles alive.
However, the dashboard itself was never truly seen as a viable replacement for the all-inclusive Android Auto app and was also never fully accepted by the community. My guess is that it received low usage, and you know what Google does when it sees small numbers. In all honesty, the idea of failing fast is a mantra in Silicon Valley, and I get it, so I’m just giving them a hard time.
The great news is that the excellent Google Maps driving UI that gets called up once you tell Assistant through the app to take you somewhere has evolved over time to become a worthy and useful tool for most people. At least, so far as the individuals I’ve spoken to, and in my own experience, it’s more than enough to get me around town without needing to fuss with small buttons, distracting information, and so on while on the road.
The name of the game, is, of course, safety. Google Maps is no slouch when it comes to the features that are natively baked in, so it would stand to reason that the Assistant Driving Mode Dashboard was some sort of stop-gap as Google got Android Auto (for phones) users to accept and adopt Maps in its place, and no longer needed to exist.
While the aforementioned Dashboard tool showed Material You-style tiles for your navigation, calls, texts, music, and more, the Google Maps Driving Mode that survived the cut provides more of a tabbed layout at the bottom of the screen with an app grid experience to the right. On the left, you’ll still have access to a microphone for Google Assistant commands, which can still be activated by voice, of course.