According to 9to5Google, the reason the tech giant was closing the assistant driving mode was that most of them were using the Maps version. Because of the similarity of names and functionalities, some may not have even realized that the version of the Assistant existed. A few days after this publication was published, Google contacted us to clarify the changes that were being made. Instead of simply dropping the map card, the assistant driving mode completely loses sight of the dashboard.
It's a big change for the future of the service, so be sure to check out our analysis of exactly what this means for the way you use your phone in the car. Google will close its assistant driving mode control panel just 13 months after its launch. Engadget rightly points out that many Android users may not even know that assistant driving mode existed. Google originally told us that it was going to close the map card that appears at the top of the driving mode panel (more commonly known as the home screen), which was launched more than a year ago.
The standalone version of driving mode should not be confused with the Driving Mode feature built into Google Maps, which starts automatically when you start navigation. Personally, I would prefer Google to take the time necessary to properly integrate Maps into assistant driving mode, as it did in Android Auto for phone screens, but at least this step clarifies how the service works. This move, ominous as it sounds, actually only removes a confusing element from the user interface; in fact, it seems that Google has already made the change, since I can't get it to appear in the current stable version. This is how Google shows directions when you access a location with the Assistant, before opening navigation in Maps (left, center).
Google now tells us that it will close the entire assistant driving mode panel on November 21. Once driving mode is closed, you'll only have to access its functions by starting navigation on Google Maps, which is probably what many users have been doing anyway. Driving mode was already perceived as a degradation compared to Android Auto, but some people liked it, and Google noted that millions of people use both instances of driving mode every day. As Google confirmed with 9to5Google, the main screen it refers to is a map card that is often found at the top of the screen, which specifically shows recent searches or suggested locations, such as the saved work address. The car-optimized experience in Google Maps for Android will be maintained, which Google also calls driving mode.
The control panel offers quick access to audio controls, shortcuts for calling and sending text messages, multimedia suggestions and navigation through Google Maps. Google doesn't use this space to show the progress of the trip in real time, it only shows the general route you've selected. Once the application introduces you to Maps, which is still the only GPS application compatible with assistant driving mode, you won't be able to return to the driving mode home screen, even if you select the service's direct access.