Facebook just announced that Messenger is now integrated with Android Auto, an interface that provides drivers with voice command-enabled access to features such as navigation, music and messaging via mobile applications or built-in vehicle displays. A number of apps have integrated with the platform, like Spotify, Pandora, Google Maps, Hangouts, Skype, WhatsApp and others.
It’s not a huge update by any means, but the new functionality will certainly prove to be useful for people who use Facebook Messenger as their main method of communication as they won’t have an excuse to mess around with the phone behind the wheel when they should be concentrating on driving.
Facebook said Android Auto will play messages when the user — or, in this case, driver — touches the speaker icon. Drivers can give Android Auto voice commands to reply or message a friend on Messenger. There’s also an “I’m driving right now” button to quickly send this message as a reply, Facebook said.
Although, arguably, some would say that responding to messages while driving should just wait, the reality is that people tend to reply anyway, even though it may be unsafe.
Google has taken a more open approach with the Android Auto, as compared with Apple’s CarPlay. Though the system is available in more than 200 new car models from 50 brands, by making it an app, it is available to everyone. And on Android smartphones, Google can make these integrations with third-party apps feel even more seamless, as is the case with Messenger.