The holidays are getting close and many people are going to be out and about, whether that's traveling somewhere or just running errands around where they live. And so this week, Google Maps is getting some new features to help with all that.
First up, Google Assistant's driving mode in Google Maps is now rolling out in an early preview, and it aims to help you get things done while you keep your eyes on the road. It's available to devices running Android 9.0 or higher with 4GB of RAM or more and using in English in the U.S.
Google Assistant driving mode includes a Microphone button in the lower left corner of your screen and an App Launcher in the bottom right corner. You can tap the Microphone button or just say "Hey Google" to do things like make a call or answer an incoming call, send a message, have you new messages read out to you, or play music. The Google Assistant will also announce incoming calls and read your incoming messages so you don't have to look down at your phone.
Tapping the App Launcher button will give you a list of apps that you can open in driving mode, including the likes of YouTube Music, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.
You can opt in to driving mode by launching your Google Assistant settings, tapping on "Getting around", and then selecting "Driving mode". Then just begin navigating to a destination in Google Maps.
Also rolling out to Google Maps is improved COVID-19 info. The Google Maps apps for both Android and iOS will soon show more COVID information, like the all-time detected cases in an area, along with links to COVID resources from the local authorities.
Google Maps is getting better crowdedness information for public transit, too. The Android and iOS apps can now show you how crowded your bus, train, or subway line is using real-time info from Google Maps users.
And finally, Google is adding live status info for takeout and delivery food orders. This feature is rolling out to Google Maps apps on Android and iOS in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Australia, Brazil, and India when you order from the Google Maps app. You'll be able to see expected wait times and delivery fees plus quickly reorder your favorite meals.