Spotify has begun testing a new “Car Mode” interface with some users, company confirms TechCrunch on Friday. Testing comes a few months after Spotify announced that they have removed the simple car interface called “Car View”, which shows playback controls and your current path while driving. At the time, Spotify said it was exploring new ways to deliver in-car listening experiences and would roll out new features soon.
“At Spotify, we are always working to ensure our users have the best music listening experience possible,” a Spotify spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We can confirm that we are testing a new Car Mode for some users. As with any of our tests, we’re always looking for feedback from our users before rolling out changes more broadly.”
The new interface was first discovered by 9to5Google. The website posted screenshots of the Android Car Mode version. Spotify did not comment on whether the new interface is being tested with iOS users.
The screenshot shows Vehicle Mode that allows users to browse and search for music via voice control. The Car Mode track player view includes simple controls, such as play/pause, shuffle skip, and like buttons. There’s also a microphone button that you can use to search Spotify’s library while in Car Mode. You can also use voice control to access recently played music or podcasts. The layout is similar to Spotify’s regular interface, but without many of the eye-catching elements that would normally appear on the screen.
Spotify is still testing the new interface and is seeking feedback from users who have access to it, meaning the final version of Vehicle Mode may look different from the screenshot seen above. .
The new Car mode is just one part of Spotify’s effort to provide a seamless in-car listening experience. Last April, the company officially announced the limited US release of its first hardware device, the Car Thing. The device is aimed at Spotify Premium subscribers and vehicle owners that don’t have a built-in infotainment system for easy Spotify access, like Apple’s CarPlay or Android Auto. Spotify makes Car Thing available to the public in November for $89.99.
Car Thing connects to the Spotify mobile app on your phone, then uses your phone’s cellular signal (or Wi-Fi, if available) to play your music or podcasts over your cell’s audio system Bowl. The device works with USB, Bluetooth and Aux. You can access the service by saying “Hey Spotify,” tapping the touchscreen, turning the dial, or using one of the four preset buttons at the top of the player.
Spotify can also be integrated with the Google Assistant for hands-free listening to music and podcasts while driving. The feature also works with Google Maps so you can navigate while listening to Spotify. To do so, you can link your accounts and say ‘Hey Google, let’s play Spotify.’
The jury is still out on whether hands-free voice recognition actually makes driving safer (some Recommended drivers who use voice control are than distraction). But the new revamp doesn’t offer fewer visual distractions and a cleaner interface.