Android Auto goes fully hands-free as 'OK Google' support revs up

Keep your hands on the steering wheel while getting directions and sending texts.

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The Android Auto improvements promised by Google at its I/O Conference earlier this year have been slow to roll out. Last month it released a standalone phone app for people who don’t have the car-centric technology already built-in to their dashboards, but we’re still waiting for the first wireless cars and the native Waze app to make an appearance. Google is making good on another promised feature, though: OK Google support.

High on the list of most Android Auto users’ wish lists, OK Google brings a true hands-free experience to your cars, letting you summon directions, send texts, and make calls without needing to leave the 9 and 3 position on your steering wheel. As spotted by eagle-eyed Redditor neo5468, you’ll find the setting inside the Google app rather than the Android Auto one, but you’ll need to have the latest Android Auto app build (2.0.6427) installed as well.

There’s nothing new to turn on, but you should see a new Android Auto mention next to the “While driving” toggle inside the OK Google settings. The server-side roll-out appears to be sporadic, so keep checking the app for the update.

The impact on you at home: Android Auto is built for safety and convenience so it was surprising that OK Google wasn’t built in from the start. But it’s a welcome addition. And since there are sure to be a batch of younger drivers eager to test the platform in their cars, a fully hands-free experience will keep us all safer.

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