Google quietly introduced a new feature for the Pixel 2 a while back that let you put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode while you’re driving. Now, the company is expanding the technology behind it to let other apps know when you’re behind the wheel and do some creative stuff with it.
According to an update on the Android Developers Blog (which is mostly for the people who make the apps you use, but can give us some insight into features that are coming in the future), the new API is designed to accurately figure out when you’re driving. This is more complicated than it sounds. If you stop at a red light or are stuck in traffic, should your phone decide you’ve parked? How can it tell the difference?
Well now that’s a problem for Google to figure out, then pass on the info to other apps. Those apps can, in turn, do some interesting things with it. For example, Google partnered with QuickBooks to add a feature using this API that automatically tracks your mileage for expense reports. No fancy car adapter required. Now, Google is making this feature available to other apps. The company also wants to add new features in the future like distinguishing between driving and riding on a train. It’ll be interesting to see how third-party app developers use this feature going forward.