The Georgia Hands-Free Law went into effect on July 1st, and while I’ve always been adamant about absolutely no texting and driving, I was sometimes guilty of taking a quick look at my phone at a stoplight. Under this new law, stoplight texting is illegal, as is holding/touching your phone at all behind the wheel. As the lone Android user on the Sales team, I decided to try out Google’s suggestion to download Android Auto during a recent roadtrip to Charleston.
After downloading and a very quick and easy setup, I started testing what it could do with only voice commands. First, upon turning on my car, the Bluetooth connects and the phone automatically puts itself in Android Auto mode. Next, it pulls the app up on the screen without my doing anything. The app also looks very simplistic and is in a larger, easy-to-read font. I can then say, “Okay, Google,” and ask it to play Pandora/Spotify or to route me to a specific location. I can also ask it to make a call or respond to a text or Google Hangout message, and it will read the message to me as well. There’s a feature in the app that auto-responds to messages with a generic “I’m driving,” and you can customize that message if you’d like as well. There are a variety of apps that integrate through voice command with Android Auto related to music, sports, podcasts, and even some that will read your email to you. There are a few car models that will also fully integrate with Android Auto and display on the car’s panel, but unfortunately not my Toyota.
The app is convenient and easy to use, but it’s not without its flaws, and its ability to understand your commands 100% of the time (with a Southern accent) is not perfect. I do recommend getting familiar with Android Auto’s features in your driveway or as a passenger in your own car before trying it out for the first time behind the wheel; there is a bit of a learning curve to what it does and doesn’t do. Overall, I’ll continue to use Android Auto, as it’s great to have when I forget to turn on Pandora or route myself to a location and keeps me from touching my phone!