In a nutshell: Despite growing concerns about the dangers of distracting mobile interfaces shown on car displays, Google is increasing its business stakes in the automotive segment. Android Auto is compatible with "nearly" every major car brand and is now in over 200 million cars on the road, the company reveals, and more Android features are coming to even more car models.

Google revealed what's next for the Android automotive platform at CES 2024, showing some of the most enticing features coming to Android Auto and cars with the "Google built-in" software stack. Android Auto is a mobile app that can mirror Android devices (smartphones, tablets) on a car's dashboard, while Google built-in is the marketing term for Google's own automotive software (Android Automotive) installed directly in cars.

Electric vehicles (EV) compatible with the Android Auto mirroring app are acquiring the ability to share real-time battery information with Google Maps, the Mountain View corporation has revealed. Driving EVs will become "easier", Google promises, as Google Maps will provide the estimated battery charge left after arriving at a destination.

Google Maps will also suggest charging stops along the way, or even estimate how long the charging process will take for a specific vehicle. The Android Auto feature will initially come to the Ford Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning in the upcoming months, with other car models to follow. Owners of cars with Google built-in software can now send the trip they've planned on Google Maps (on Android or iOS phones) directly to a car's display, which provides a seamless transition "from planning to navigating" according to Google.

Drivers will soon be able to stay "connected, informed and entertained" thanks to direct integration of Chrome in select Google built-in cars, Mountain View said. The proprietary web browser will be rolling out to some Polestar and Volvo cars, and more models will be added later this year. Doing a "little shopping" or accessing saved bookmarks while the vehicle is parked won't kill anyone, Google suggests.

Android Automotive vehicles are also getting the ability to stream juvenile content offered by PBS Kids and Crunchyroll, which are now available for select cars with the Google built-in software. The Weather Channel app is also becoming part of Google built-in "by popular demand," Google said, with hourly forecasts and alerts on weather conditions shown directly on the car's dashboard.

More brands and developers are expanding their support for Android Auto and its helpful apps and services, Google said. The digital car key feature, which provides an easy way to unlock a car through an Android phone, is coming to select Volvo cars, while the Google built-in software is rolling out to Nissan, Ford, and Lincoln models this year.