Android Auto Adds Zoom to UX, Society’s End is Near

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

android auto adds zoom to ux societys end is near

In what is surely the final blow to any semblance of work/life balance, Google has added WebEx and Zoom meeting functionality to its Android Auto suite of services.

Tech wonks will call it enhanced productivity, of course, while the rest of us will bemoan the intrusion of scheduled meetings into one of the last sanctuaries of solace left on the planet for most gearheads.*

*Ed. Note -- Or for anyone.

Fortunately, no one’s forcing us all to use this stuff and a good many of our writers and readers don’t have whips modern enough to support Android Auto, anyway. Last we checked it didn’t work in a Crown Vic or GMT800 pickup truck.

As for the rest of this world’s poor sods whose bosses will now expect constant-on availability for meetings, the two newly integrated apps are said to only work in audio-only. Google says will make it “easy and safe” for drivers to quickly join scheduled meetings from car displays. OK, then. We would like to suggest these apps only be used whilst a car is stationary, such as in a parking lot or while an EV is charging, but we all know some folks will use them on the go.

A more useful tool that’s part of the latest updates from Google is that of a digital car key, permitting owners of certain makes and models to lock and unlock vehicles from their smartphones. Select machines from the Hyundai extended family – Kia, Genesis, and Hyundai brands – in the U.S. and Canada will have access to this tech through compatible Samsung and Pixel devices. Users will be able to share digital keys with others who are like-minded in terms of the device in their pocket. 

This differs from what’s on offer in OEM apps in that it’s a standalone feature not dependent on an app from a carmaker, though most functions sound similar. Privacy watchdogs are putting their tinfoil hats on as we speak.

[Image: Google]

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2 of 11 comments
  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Sep 14, 2023

    Kia/Hyundai are in no position to be marketing easier ways to get into their vehicles.

    • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Sep 15, 2023

      A week ago today (Friday) I took my daughter's 2014 Forte to the dealer and got the "software update" installed, and after it was pulled back into the service drive, I ran through some tests, and I can't see where anything was changed. As one check, I rolled down the driver's window, locked the car with the remote, then reached in, put the key in the ignition, turned the key, and it started. I'm pretty sure that shouldn't have worked, since the ignition is supposed be disabled until the car is unlocked using the remote.

      So, I wrote a pretty detailed message to Kia Motors through their owners site, and I've yet to get a reply. Also, the dealer was out of the window stickers that are supposed to be put on the car along with the update - the parts guy said that Kia just sends them a roll of stickers every once in a while, and when they run out, they're out, until another roll of stickers arrives. They promised to send some to me, and on Wednesday, a FedEx envelope (cha-ching!) arrived, with two stickers, so I get to put those on this weekend.

      I'm not yet convinced that the "software update" did anything and isn't just supposed to make owners feel better.

  • El scotto El scotto on Sep 17, 2023

    -smirks- Gents, please remember to switch your Bluetooth off in the parking garage/parking lot. Nothing like walking by a vehicle were the occupant is having an argument with their significant other and we can hear it through all six speakers.

  • Ajla They should just keep making this version forever. The next Tacoma and Land Cruiser have the new tech stuff covered.
  • CoastieLenn I still don't completely understand why Toyota left the 4.0 in the 4R when the Taco on which it's based got the arguably more efficient and stout 3.5.
  • FreedMike Same guys who are charging $15,000 over sticker day in, day out? Cry me a river, fellas.
  • Mebgardner If you like non-turbo V6 power, then this having another year offering, is a good thing. I have owned just one of these since 2003. I have lived with the roly-poly ride quality, and the thirsty (about 17 mpg is what I get, combined, still, on the unmodified) motor. It was, and still is, a reasonable compromise.
  • Kwik_Shift Low priced models (< $40G CAD)are leaving dealer lots as soon as they come in. Local Nissan dealer had 2 '23 Sentra SR Premiums come in last week and sold off this week. These were extra for stock.