Comparison of Android Auto and Android Automotive vs Google Automotive Services

We rely on our smartphones for more than just texting and making calls. It’s hard to go anywhere without a device in your pocket. From mobile payments to taking pictures, your phone is the center of your life, a device so vital that you probably feel naked without it.

Your car is a place where you should never use your phone – no exceptions. It’s a space where a smartphone comes in handy, despite safety concerns. Message your friends and family about traffic delays, view the weather during a road trip, and navigate to unknown locations hours away from your usual area. None of this should be attempted while driving without a way to control your device hands-free.


To combat potentially unsafe driving, Google has created several ways to interact with your digital life without relying on potentially unsafe ways of texting, calling, and more. Android Auto, Android Automotive and Google Automotive Services. All three have similar names and aim for a similar goal: to provide you with the essential tools for your smartphone without taking your eyes off the road.

However, regardless of Google’s intentions, these competing services can get confusing. Let’s break down what Android Auto, Automotive, and Google Automotive Services are, what they do, and how you’ll test them.

What is Android Auto?

If you’ve used Android in your car, it probably is Android Auto. Google first unveiled Auto at I/O 2014. Android Auto has revolutionized how people interact with devices in the car. Drivers no longer have to stop to answer a text message or make a phone call. You can do everything right in the car, all with voice commands and minimal touch interaction. Simply plug your phone into your vehicle’s USB port – or use it Wirelessly through supported vehicles or accessories– And you are fine.

Although it was revealed in 2014, it took until 2015 for the feature to reach Android users, as it first came out on the road in the Hyundai Sonata. It was an improvement over the slow and buggy experiences that were included in most vehicles at the time, and even now – nearly a decade later – it still holds true.

The current Android Auto user interface looks different. The service received a revamp in 2019, but things were a little simpler at the time. A few tabs along the bottom of the screen allowed you to switch between navigation, media, and voice assistant commands. The look of Material Design was modern at the time, although it’s a far cry from what is currently on Google devices. Some of the biggest Auto issues of the time, such as charging and lack of third-party apps, were resolved over time as it grew into a modern platform.

These days, Auto looks more elegant and modern. It has a home screen where it is easy to choose from a file Many third-party appsIts media player is still evolving in new ways. A dedicated notifications tab makes it easy to check messages or missed calls as they come in. It will have a split screen dashboard viewdisplays your important information on one screen, even though Google missed its release window.

Not everything has changed. Auto remains cut off from the rest of your vehicle’s infotainment system. You’ll always need to tap the auto icon to turn it on once your phone is connected, and it won’t fully sync to your car’s other gauges and screens. Meanwhile, for a seven-year-old product, It’s still very difficult. USB cables continue to Causing havoc with drivers everywhereA lot of bugs throughout 2022 prevented popular phones like the Galaxy S22 series from syncing properly with the car.

Someday, this will be a reality.

No matter the headache, Android Auto remains a solid platform while on the road, and it’s as easy to use as you’ll find on Android. While some may prefer a Mount the phone when drivingRelying on the big screens now in most modern cars keeps your view unimpeded while delivering your favorite music, podcast, messaging and navigation apps is a dream come true.

What is Android Automotive?

If Android Auto is an offering for your smartphone, the auto software eliminates the need for your device. Instead, it’s better to think of it as a version of Android, just like Android TV is an adaptation of Google’s mobile operating system for TVs. Cars is an integrated operating system built into supported vehicles, which means it’s not just your smartphone Not Wanted, he is not involved at all.

Although Google’s dedicated automotive operating system has been around since 2017, it has only started to appear in mainstream consumer cars over the past year or two. previously, Support was limited to cars from manufacturers such as Polestar, together with development partners Volvo and Audi. Far from what you would expect to see from a big company like Google. While the search giant has announced plenty of partners, it’s only in the past year or two that companies like General Motors have launched vehicles that support them.

So, what exactly is Android Automotive compared to Android Auto? Besides dropping the need for your smartphone, it also controls all of your vehicle’s functions within the cabin. Rather than having it as an app on your car’s infotainment system, it is Your vehicle’s infotainment system. It still provides all the pieces you want from your phone, like music, navigation, and assistant, but without you being tied up with your phone. Want to listen to Spotify while you’re driving home? There is an app dedicated to that, but it won’t use what’s installed on the device in your pocket.

Source: Chevrolet

It’s not just music, messages, and maps. Android Automotive is also responsible for every interaction with the display inside your car’s dashboard. Climate controls, vehicle information, backup cameras. It is all supported by Android. Even iOS users will need to run CarPlay through Automotive, which is a funny affinity between the two platforms.

Unlike Auto, which offers a distinctive and unique look no matter what car you see it on, the look of cars depends on your car manufacturer. General Motors is a great example, with Chevy and GMC skinning their version of cars differently, despite their common parent company. Although the differences are small – the custom icon pack is the biggest change between the two – it shows how little driver control over the cars’ appearance is compared to the manufacturer.

Source: GMC

With Android Auto, Google speaks directly to end users. With cars, the automaker is the customer. And that brings us back to the final piece of this car-fitting puzzle.

What are Google Car Services?

If Android Automotive is an Android fork designed for your car, Google Automotive Services (GAS) is its app package. GAS is all your favorite Google system apps rolled into one package. As an end user, you will never directly interact with it. Instead, you will see the benefits of this system, especially if you purchased a car from a Google partner. Ford, General Motors and Volvo have agreed to use gas. Meanwhile, Stellantis has entered into a partnership with Amazon.

These app bundles are not new to Android. Google has relied on it in the past to make sure phone manufacturers follow specific instructions. The company usually relies on the availability of the Play Store to pressure companies like Samsung to abide by a set of rules or regulations for how Android works. But it’s different with GAS, where Google sells these services to automakers as an optional purchase.

As we’ve seen with Stellantis, it’s not a requirement. Given the number of drivers, especially in the United States, who rely on iOS and CarPlay to get from place to place, it makes sense that some automakers (particularly small businesses) might pass accreditation for these services. However, if you are an Android fan, you will want to look for these apps when shopping for a motorized vehicle.

Android takes you where you want to be

As confusing as it may be on paper, Google serves two distinct audiences with Auto, Automotive, and GAS. While casual users are more likely to interact with Auto than others, cars are slowly growing on newer cars as manufacturers turn their attention toward the operating system. And a complete car-friendly operating system is nothing without apps, and that’s where Google Automotive Services comes in.

At the end of the day, whether you’re interacting with Android in the car with a restricted connection or with a pre-installed operating system, it’s the Google platform that helps you get where you need to be. It just goes to show how much power the company has gained in the automotive world.