Not that a vertical screen is the best for YouTube. | Image: Google
Google has announced that cars with its services built-in will be getting the ability to play YouTube videos while parked later this year, starting with Volvo. For those with a V90, XC40 Recharge, or other supported cars, this should make waiting in a parking lot more bearable since you’ll be able to see videos on your car’s built-in screen, which is probably going to be slightly larger and more ergonomic than a phone.
Google also seems to leave the door open for other video apps as well, so it’s possible other developers could let you access their content from your car’s infotainment system.
You’ll also be able to control some Volvo cars using Google Assistant from outside the car — in a video embedded in its blog, Google shows the example of someone using a Nest Audio to turn on their car’s heat without having to brave the snow outside. The blog also says the Assistant will be able to lock or unlock the car and tell you its battery status. While some Volvos have had in-car control with Assistant for a while, it’s nice to get some functionality that won’t require you to make the journey out to the garage or parking lot.
Google says it’s also expanding what you’ll be able to do with your voice inside the car as well — this spring, Volvos with Android Automotive will let you access things like lane-keeping assist and service information with the Assistant.
Google details more car-related features coming in its blog post. It says that later this year, its digital car key feature will be coming to “even more Android phones and vehicles” (it’s currently only supported on Pixel 6 and Galaxy S21 handsets). Google also says that the unlock feature will get support for Ultra Wideband later this year, so people won’t have to take their phones out and tap them to their car to unlock with NFC.
Google says its partnered with Lyft to add Android Auto support for its driver-focused app.
Finally, Lyft and Kakao Mobility will be adding Android Auto support to their driver apps, which should let people working for these rideshare apps choose which riders to pick up from their car’s touchscreen.