Google is shutting down its Assistant-powered Driving Mode

After being announced at I/O 2019, teased in 2020 and finally officially launched last year, Google is shutting down the Driving Mode Assistant dashboard. 9to5Google reported. The feature gives users an Android Auto-lite experience on their smartphone while driving, and was effectively a replacement for the Android Auto smartphone app, which itself was killed last year.

The assistant’s driving mode shows a home-screen-style page with the Google Assistant at the top, a music player and volume controls below it, and buttons to make a call or send a message. You can access it from Assistant by saying “Hey Google, start driving mode” or pin it to your home screen.

Google is turning off its assistant-powered driving mode

Steve Dent/Engadget

If you’re confusing Assistant Driving Mode with the Google Maps feature, also known as Driving Mode (above), that’s understandable. However, instead of launching from Assistant or the home screen, the Google Maps version launches from a four-dot menu at the bottom right when you start navigating. Once opened, it reveals a row of large icons for calls, messages, and media apps that are easy to see and access while driving. Oddly enough, when you first launch this mode in Maps, it offers to pin it Miscellaneous Driving mode on your home screen.

Google is shutting down Assistant Driving Mode because it’s determined most people only use the Maps version, it said 9to5Google. However, due to the naming confusion and similarity between the apps, people might not even have known the Assistant version existed. Google might want to clarify the situation around navigation and entertainment for people who don’t have Android Auto installed in their vehicles because it’s confusing as hell.

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