Cars that have Google LLC’s Android Automotive operating system built-in will soon be able to access apps such as YouTube, Waze and Zoom through their in-car infotainment systems.
The first cars to get access to YouTube and other applications will be the latest models from Polestar Performance AB, an electronic vehicle manufacturer whose cars were among the first to get Google built in.
YouTube is already available in many car infotainment systems. It can be accessed through the Android Auto app, which runs on Android smartphones and communicates with vehicles wirelessly to display applications on in-car displays.
However, today’s integration is specifically for cars running Android Automotive, which is a version of the Android platform that’s customized for vehicles. It provides cars with native access to various Google apps and services, without needing to link another device.
For safety reasons, only passengers will be able to access YouTube and other entertainment-focused applications while the car is in motion. However, drivers will be able to use the app when the car is parked, Google said.
The Polestar 2 was Polestar’s first vehicle with Google built into its infotainment system, and the company has said that its upcoming Polestar 3 model will also feature Google’s HD mapping platform. So the introduction of additional, entertainment-focused apps is a logical next step.
Besides YouTube, Google will also bring Waze, its real-time maps service, and Zoom, the video calling platform, to Android Automotive cars. In addition, Google-powered cars will also get more games from GameSnacks later this year. GameSnacks is an app that bundles a variety of bite-sized games, such as Beach Buggy Racing and Solitaire, which can be played by drivers while they’re waiting to pick up the kids from school, charge the car’s battery or something similar.
Google said additional automakers will integrate its software in the coming weeks and months. It has previously announced partnerships with Volvo Group, which will also integrate Android Automotive with more of its cars, and Mercedes-Benz AG. The partnership with Mercedes is slightly different, since it has signed a licensing deal that will allow it to bring Google Maps, Cloud and YouTube to its cars, which run the homegrown MB.OS software.
Although Google didn’t name any of its upcoming auto partners, it said it expects the number of vehicles running Android Automotive to double by the end of the year. Its software is also available in select vehicles from Chevrolet Motor Co., Groupe Renault and Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
In-car entertainment is perceived as a growing opportunity. Other car makers, including BYD Co. Ltd. and Hyundai Motor Co. are said to be working with Nvidia Corp. to bring that company’s video game streaming service GeForce Now to new vehicles. Meanwhile, Tesla Motors Inc. has offered in-car video games for quite some time, notably integrating with Valve Corp.’s Steam game distribution platform last year.
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