The idea, obviously, is to allow you to choose music or audiobooks to listen to quickly, minimizing the time you're messing with Android Auto's interface with your eyes off the road. The new version of Android Auto, released today, makes media previews bigger and brings them right up to the top.
If you're a regular user of any of those apps listed above, you'll see an improved layout that surfaces things like your recent activity with large album art. MMS and group messaging are now supported, and if you opt in, you can even get an onscreen preview of text messages - assuming the vehicle is stopped. Now when you search using your voice it will not automatically play its result but will give you other options for what it has found under those search parameters - categorised as well.
The new media features are now available for Google Play Books, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, Pocket Casts, and Spotify, with more supported apps coming soon. Amazon Music has more than two million songs for your listening pleasure, according to the listing, and the TV interface doesn't look too bad, either. We've also made improvements to the voice search experience. In many cases this removes multiple taps from the media search experience, which is critical in the auto. This message previewing capability is optional and you can enable it via Android Auto's settings menu. The message will show up within whatever app you're in (like Google Maps). This means you will be able to get modern features like group messaging with people that also have RCS apps on their phone.
The updates will become available in the next few days.
Why buy a finished Android Auto head unit when you can hack one together with a Raspberry Pi 3?