App Launcher in Google Assistant Driving Mode will discontinue in February

Google Assistant driving mode featured

Google has officially confirmed the discontinuation of Google Assistant Driving Mode for Google Maps later this month, as previously observed in a series of deprecations. However, an update clarifies that only the App Launcher within the Assistant Driving Mode is going away.

This mode allowed users to read and send messages, make calls, and control media using Google Maps. The removal follows the termination of the Assistant Driving Mode Dashboard in 2022, leaving behind a simplified interface with a bottom bar featuring prominent buttons for Assistant, quick return to Maps, and an app grid.

The Assistant Driving Mode in 2022 included a bar at the bottom of the screen with substantial buttons for Assistant functions, a swift return to Maps, and an app grid hosting music, podcasts, and audiobooks. This interface allowed users to browse streaming services with an optimized user interface, large touch targets, and a dedicated now-playing screen, complete with a docked controller beneath the navigation. However, ahead of the upcoming deprecation on February 7, users are receiving a notification at the bottom of the screen, informing them that the current view will no longer be available after February.

Google Assistant Driving Mode is now just a voice bar

In addition to the changes in Google Assistant Driving Mode, Google also disclosed the removal of the “Commute to Work” tile on Nest Hub and other Smart Displays on the same day. Google will remove most other Assistant features at the end of February. As a viable alternative, Google emphasizes (via 9to5Google) that users can still leverage voice control on Google Maps in the same manner, highlighting a new Assistant voice experience introduced last year.

This move signifies another step in Google’s ongoing adjustments to its Assistant features and interfaces, aiming to streamline user experiences and possibly introduce new functionalities in the future. As technology evolves, these changes reflect the company’s commitment to enhancing user interactions and keeping pace with evolving user needs.

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