Google already has an in-car navigation interface in the form of Android Auto, as well as a future replacement in the form of the assistant for driving mode. However, a very similar concept appears to be implemented in Google Maps. The map navigation already showed controls for music playback, but never the Android-style buttons and the home screen.

The interface in question is very similar to Android Auto’s view, but differs in that it is entirely based on the Maps app. At the bottom there are two buttons in navigation mode – one for language and one for a kind of “home screen” – with a third map icon if you are not on the actual navigation screen to quickly return to it. Right above it is your music playback with large text and buttons that let you keep your eyes on the road. All of this is just the standard map navigation UI that we all know.

Tap the home screen button and you’ll be taken to an intuitive screen where you can get all the information you need – calls, messages, music players and podcast apps. The Calls screen contains your three most important contacts and three recent calls with a Call Someone button that will likely take you to your actual dialer. There is a special interface for YouTube Music that is also considered essential by Google.

The existence of this new interface is somewhat of a mystery. It seems to have practically the same functionality as the Android Auto phone’s user interface, minus the ability to use Waze as a navigator. We already knew that Android Auto’s phone UI would be replaced with Assistant Driving Mode, but while this looks similar, it’s not quite the case either. Assistant Driving Mode was announced over a year ago without an ETA, and we haven’t heard from it since.

The new map navigation mode does not appear to be fully deployed yet, but it has reached some readers and at least one member of the AP. Unfortunately, we don’t have an APK to share as it appears to be a server-side switch that Google is playing around with. Let us know below if this popped up for you while navigating.

Maps - Navigate and Explore
Maps - Navigate and Explore
  • Many thanks:
  • Josh Lawton,
  • Kevin