Google already has an in-car navigation UI in the form of Android Auto, as well as a future replacement in the form of Assistant Driving Mode, but it appears to be implementing a very similar concept in Google Maps. We’ve seen the music playback controls appear in Maps navigation before, but never the Android Auto-style buttons and home screen.

The interface in question looks a lot like the Android Auto view, but differs in that it is based entirely on the Maps app. The bottom has two buttons in the navigation mode – one for voice and another for a sort of “home screen” – with a third Maps icon appearing if you are not on the actual navigation screen as a quick way to get back to. it. Right above is your music playback, which features large text and buttons to help you keep your eyes on the road. All of the above is just the standard Maps navigation UI we are all familiar with.

Tap the home screen button and you’ll be taken to an intuitive screen where you can reach all your essentials: calls, messages, music players, and podcast apps. The “Calls” screen contains the first three contacts and the three most recent calls, with a “Call Someone Else” button presumably taking you to the actual dialer. There is also a dedicated interface for YouTube Music with what Google considers essential.

The existence of this new interface is a bit disconcerting; appears to have pretty much the same UI function as the Android Auto phone, minus the ability to use Waze as a navigator. We already knew that the Android Auto phone UI would be replaced by the Assistant Driving Mode, but while it looks similar, that’s not quite the case. Driving assistance mode was announced over a year ago with no ETA provided and we haven’t heard of it since.

Maps’s new navigation mode doesn’t seem to be fully implemented yet, but it has reached a few readers and at least one member of the AP staff. Unfortunately, we don’t have an APK that we can share, as it appears to be a server-side switch that Google is playing with. Let us know below if this was shown to you while browsing somewhere.

Maps - browse and explore
Maps - browse and explore
  • Thank you:
  • Josh Lawton,
  • Kevin