When Google unveiled its new Pixel 2 flagship phone lineup last month, the company also revealed a neat new feature for drivers.
Once the feature is enabled in the settings, the phone uses multiple signals from sensors, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi to establish that the person is likely behind the wheel of a car — for example, if you’re connected to a car’s entertainment system, there is a high likelihood that you’re driving. Based on this information, the phone silences all incoming messages and notifications while keeping core voice-compatible features, such as calls and navigation cues, intact.
Google has offered the Activity Recognition API to third-party developers for several years already, enabling them to build applications that need to know what activity a user is currently engaged in, be it running, walking, cycling, or, indeed, driving. But Google said that next year it will offer a new Activity Recognition Transition API — the same one that powers the Do-Not-Disturb feature on the Pixel 2 phones.
The company hasn’t yet detailed the full capabilities of the API, but it does hope that it will enable developers to “build distraction-free driving experiences,” according to a blog post on the matter.
Many apps offer driving modes. Indeed, Spotify is currently in the process of testing a new driver-focused feature that makes the track-skip buttons larger and opens up…