Google Maps: Driving Mode has arrived

After months of waiting Driving Mode arrives on Google Maps, here's what it looks like and how it works

After months of waiting Google is finally releasing an update to the Google Maps app for Android smartphones that introduces the most anticipated feature of all: Driving Mode. The new feature is being rolled out in the US as well, while it's not yet available in Italy.

Thanks to "Driving Mode" the Google Maps interface changes and turns your smartphone into a sort of mini car infotainment system. In this way you can hook your smartphone to any car mount and use it as a navigator, to listen to music, to use apps and to read and send messages without distracting yourself from driving. Apparently, the presence of Driving Mode in Google Maps does not depend on the app version, but is controlled "server-side" directly by Google. This will speed up the introduction of this new feature in other countries around the world.

Google Maps Driving Mode: how to activate it

The new Driving Mode is activated by opening the Google Maps app and tapping on the menu with the three vertical dots. A new description for the Google Assistant's Setting option now appears on the Navigator Settings screen, referring to "Driving Mode". Entering this screen you can enable Driving Mode and change the settings.

How Driving Mode works

The Driving Mode that American Maps users are trying out right now is slightly different in interface than previous tests. But the substance remains the same: it is a very simplified interface that aims to allow the user to continue using the smartphone without getting distracted while driving.

Two large buttons for calls and messages are positioned at the top, followed below by icons for "For You", "Google Play" and other apps installed on the smartphone such as YouTube Music, Spotify, Google Podcasts.

What Driving Mode can do

With Driving Mode turned on, you can use your voice to send and receive calls and messages, including via messaging apps, stream media files, all without ever leaving the navigation screen, thus minimizing distractions while driving.

When the mode is on, for example, a small band appears at the bottom of the navigation screen that includes additional information (such as buttons to make or answer calls).