Google is about to make your smartphone the powerhouse behind your in-car infotainment system, with Android Auto, a new feature it’s introducing to Android devices that replaces your built-in car navigation and media system with a version of Android designed specifically for vehicular display systems.
The effort is very much reminiscent of Apple’s CarPlay, with an interface that highlights things people use on their devices when they’re in their cars specifically, including navigation, music playback, and voice-based interaction for search, composing messages and more.
As you can see in the video, the idea behind the design of the system was to build something resembling Google Now for a central jumping off point, and then making sure that there are plenty of contextual smarts built into search so that it can understand even the most informal queries, and also anticipate your next requests without you even asking.
Google will begin shipping its Android Auto solution later this year, beginning with a few select car and device manufacturers supporting the feature, and then expanding from there. It’s already looking pretty much road ready, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it hit the streets once they’ve had a chance to get more third-party developers on board.