Google is releasing a new update to Android Auto that allows the car software to regain some of its smarts. This includes bringing back the Calendar app, which allows you to view information on your next appointment and get driving directions if you’d added a location to the calendar entry. Google previously removed the Calendar app from its last redesign in 2019, replacing it with a button that simply read your appointments out loud using the Google Assistant instead of showing you anything on the screen.
The new update also adds relevant shortcuts to the Calendar app — so if you need to pick up a birthday cake, for instance, you will have the option to either call the bakery or pull up directions to get there. Apple introduced a similar calendar feature in 2019 that allowed its CarPlay users to pull up directions and see appointments as part of its iOS 13 update.
Aside from bringing back the smarts to its Calendar app, Google also announced today that it is working with “early access partners” to help create new apps and categories for Android Auto, including navigation, parking, and electric vehicle charging. Google has not said how those apps will be distributed. If the tests are successful, Google will make those APIs publicly available, so other software developers can start building new apps for its car software.