Google Maps on Android Auto
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Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution

Android Auto keeps evolving on all fronts, but the updates released by Google don’t always bring significant changes and new features. Refining the experience also comes down to subtle improvements that users could sometimes even miss.
This is the case with the latest Google Maps behavior, which allows another feature to roam across devices.

If you’re a diehard Google Maps user, you probably know already that the application received a 3D buildings layer not long ago on Android Auto. It’s also available on Android devices, and users can manually enable the new option from the map UI on the phone or settings on Android Auto.

Until recently, this setting, which significantly improves the navigation experience, was independent for each device, so if you enabled the 3D buildings layer on the Android phone, you also had to manually enable it on Android Auto, too.

The search giant has recently decided to update this behavior, so if you enable the 3D buildings layer on your mobile device, you should see the same setting on Android Auto. The change is reportedly live in the latest Google Maps beta build and should start rolling out to all users in the production channel shortly.

The feature makes perfect sense.

Google Maps on Android AUto

Photo: 9to5Google

Android Auto is a phone projection system, meaning that a mobile device powers it. Allowing phone settings to roam across devices and land in the car feels natural, mainly because the smartphone projects the Android Auto UI, so the app still runs on the phone. It’s the same app running on the same device, so it wouldn’t make sense to block essential features from becoming available in the car.

Creating more consistency between phones and cars has become a priority for Google. Android Auto has received more important details in this direction, including support for importing the phone’s wallpaper and the default icon theme. Google believes that allowing Android Auto to use a familiar interface similar to the one on the mobile device would make the transition from one device to another easier while also retaining the Android identity everywhere. The features are already live for Samsung phone owners and will soon be enabled for other Android device brands.

Meanwhile, Google Maps is also getting more refinements on Android Auto. Last year, the search giant added the option to save the parking location in Google Maps when navigation runs on Android Auto. The feature has been available for years on Android devices, but with Android Auto support, it’s easier to continue using Google Maps even after parking the vehicle. Google Maps can offer step-by-step walking directions to the destination from where you parked the car and guide you back to the vehicle. This way, Google Maps remains in charge of the experience inside and outside the car.

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