Google isn’t just refining the design of the Google Maps app, it’s also updating the app’s features as it looks to further improve the navigation experience. Some Maps users have already noticed one of the new features Google is testing, a special navigation-optimized Google Assistant.
The company revealed at Google I/O that Assistant was heading to Google Maps, and it looks like it’s already here for some people. This isn’t going to be the full Assistant experience you may be used to, but a more specialized version that’s not supposed to distract you while you’re driving and navigating with Maps.
Posted on Reddit, the following screenshots show the new Assistant’s slim profile for Maps.
Users can activate the Assistant via voice, or by pressing the colorful microphone, 9to5Google explains. The commands will run in the background, which means navigation info will not disappear from the screen while the Assistant performs its tasks. The user can make calls, send text messages, play music, and access other Assistant tricks without leaving the Maps app. Also, the Google Assistant icon will be displayed against a black or white background, depending on the time of day.
The feature should be available in the current stable version of Google Maps for Android (that’s version 10.4.1), but it might not be immediately available in all regions. The feature was supposed to come out this summer, but Google started rolling it out just recently. It’s unclear exactly when Assistant for Google Maps was released, but the company usually rolls out new Google Maps updates and features in phases, so it’ll be available in your market soon if it’s not already.