Google is bringing YouTube to more cars

Close up of Google logo in the app store.

All cars with Google built-in will have YouTube available, Google announced at its I/O event.

The availability of YouTube is growing as more modern cars are equipped with cutting-edge infotainment systems that promise to improve the lives of both drivers and passengers in terms of convenience and entertainment.

In practical terms this often means more screens, both up front for the driver and in the back for passengers.

Via an app named Android Auto, many vehicles today can already access YouTube. Android Auto runs through an Android phone and communicates wirelessly with the vehicle to allow drivers to access their apps on the car’s display.

However, this latest integration is available for cars that have Google built-in. It is therefore accessible for vehicles running the Android Automotive operating system, which is based on the open source mobile operating system Linux.

Google modified it so automakers could use it in their cars, enabling Google apps and services like Maps, Assistant, and Play to be linked directly into the vehicle, as opposed to running it on smartphones and tablets.

Similar to other Google-based video and gaming services, YouTube will only be available for passengers and while the car is parked, according to the company.

The first vehicle to have Google built-in was the Polestar 2, and earlier this year the automaker said its Polestar 3 will feature Google’s HD mapping solution; the YouTube launch is the next logical step.

It’s expected in the coming weeks and months that Google will announce more automaker partnerships.

Google has announced partnerships with Volvo and Mercedes and it should be noted that the Mercedes deal is a bit different than this broader offering.

Mercedes has defined it as a licencing deal that will allow future Mercedes-Benz vehicles equipped with the automaker’s next-generation operating system, known as MB.OS, to use the Google Maps platform, Cloud, and YouTube.

Gaming was also a hot topic at the I/O event, as Google announced new ways to game in the vehicle. Now, cars with Google built-in will also be able to play games from GameSnacks for Android Auto.

A platform called GameSnacks provides a selection of bite-sized games like Solitaire and Beach Buggy Racing that are ideal for playing while you wait for your car to charge or while you pick up your children from school.

At its annual developer conference Google said that it expects the number of cars with Google built-in to double by the end of this year. The company did not provide a baseline, but already Google is built into vehicles across a range of brands like Chevrolet, Renault, Volvo and Honda, meaning the in-car gaming revolution has even more opportunity to take off.

Other auto companies have been pursuing other in-car gaming opportunities. Along with BYD and Hyundai, Polestar is also working with Nvidia to bring the company’s on-demand cloud gaming service, Geforce Now, to certain vehicles.

Tesla has long provided in-car gaming, and this year it added thousands of games from Steam’s library to its lineup. As of the 2023 BMW 7 series, a selection of single-player and multiplayer games will be available on new vehicles thanks to a partnership between BMW and the gaming platform AirConsole from the previous year.

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