On the heels of Google’s announcement that its in-car infotainment platform Android Auto can now function as a standalone mobile app, Facebook today announced that it’s now rolling out Android Auto integration on Messenger. That means Android Auto users will be able to listen to and reply to texts from friends on Messenger using voice commands.
Android Auto already lets drivers access useful information and entertainment selections in an easy-to-use display, including things like navigation, music and messaging. A number of apps have integrated with the platform, like Spotify, Pandora, Google Maps, Hangouts, Skype, WhatsApp and others.
To use the new Messenger integration, you’ll first need to have Facebook Messenger installed on your Android smartphone, the company says. You’ll then be able to hear and respond to messages that come through either the Android Auto mobile app or the display in your vehicle.
Facebook says you’ll be able to touch a button to have a message read out loud to you. Then, you can choose to reply to that message without typing on your phone by using Android Auto’s voice command functionality.
Another handy feature is a button that you can press that will send out an “I’m driving right now” message as a quick reply to incoming texts. Although, arguably, some would say that responding to messages while driving should just wait, the reality is that people tend to reply anyway, even though it may be unsafe.
Google has taken a more open approach with Android Auto, as compared with Apple’s CarPlay. Though the system is available in more than 200 new car models from 50 brands, by making it an app, it’s available to everyone. And on Android smartphones, Google can make these integrations with third-party apps feel even more seamless, as is the case with Messenger.