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Spotify is testing a new car mode focused on voice commands

The company retired its old Car View mode last year.

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Spotify is trying out a new “Car Mode” on a handful of users, the streaming service confirmed to TechCrunch. Last year the company retired its old Car View mode, explaining that it needed to pave the way for “new innovations”. The new in-car interface, called “Car Mode” appears to be more focused on voice controls than the older version. The jury is still out on whether hands-free voice recognition actually makes driving safer (some studies suggest drivers who use voice controls are more distracted). But the new revamp does offer less visual distractions and a cleaner interface.

According to screenshots of the Android version of Spotify Car Mode posted by 9to5Google, users can use voice controls to search for artists, browse albums, play or pause, fast forward and “like” a song. The new in-car mode appears to be far less busy than the older version, with simplified “Player View” and a “Library” tab that allows you to quickly access music or podcasts you’ve recently listened to.

Tech companies like Google and Amazon have pushed automakers to build more voice recognition features in future models of cars. As TechCrunch notes, voice controls will also be an essential feature in autonomous vehicles. Spotify is no doubt trying to stay ahead of this trend. Last month, Spotify officially launched Car Thing, an in-car player with voice controls, after an extended test period (we reviewed it here). But for those who don’t want to pay extra for a hands-free in-car listening experience, Spotify’s new mode will be a welcome option.