Italy investigating Google over lack of 3rd-party Android Auto mapping apps


Forward of I/O 2019, Google introduced a redesign of the in-car Android Auto experience, and later that week revealed how the cellphone app was being replaced by Assistant’s new driving mode. The corporate is now dealing with an antitrust probe by Italy over the dearth of third-party mapping functions on the automotive platform.

The Italian Antitrust Authority this week (through CNBC) opened a preliminary continuing over Android Auto’s lack of third-party mapping. In the meanwhile, Google solely allows developers to create media or messaging apps.

Builders could make music, radio, podcasting, and audiobook purchasers, whereas messaging is extra restricted and simply integrates with Auto’s notification system. All audio apps primarily having the identical format as Google is focussed on making certain driver security.

The Italian criticism started when Google rejected an app known as “Enel X Recharge” that might assist drivers discover charging stations for electrical vehicles. As The Verge factors out, the developer is Enel Group, which was beforehand a state entity earlier than being privatized. In the meanwhile, the federal government is the most important shareholder.

Italy sees this app rejection as Google abusing its dominant place to power Google Maps utilization, which is intently built-in into Auto and has similar features. Not serving to the case is how Google-owned Waze is the one different obtainable mapping utility on the platform.

Google argues that this lack of third-party mapping is partly to “ensure apps can be used safely when driving.” Earlier than launching, Waze labored intently with the Android Auto crew on security and “driver disruption” testing to optimize the expertise.

Italy’s probe will conclude by Might 2020, whereas Google is “reviewing the complaint and look forward to working with the authority to resolve the concerns.” That would very effectively see Google opening Auto to third-party mapping functions after a rigorous testing and security assessment.

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