Google is opening Pixel 2’s Do Not Disturb driving mode API to 3rd party developers

Pixel 2 users get to sample a whole host of Android features that are unique to Google’s second generation flagships. Of the bunch, one of the least celebrated features is the way the devices are capable of recognising when you are driving and slip into a customised Do Not Disturb mode to stop potentially dangerous distractions.

While it isn’t activated by default, a quick trip into the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL’s settings menu will ensure that all texts, emails, and other third-party app notifications come through silently. It’ll still allow some voice-compatible interruptions though, such as calls and navigation.

The feature is all the more impressive because Driving Do Not Disturb mode is entirely automated. That means your Pixel 2 phone will cleverly use its own sensors to detect when it is inside a moving vehicle. Google says this shouldn’t take any longer than a minute, but you can always connect to in-car Bluetooth to activate it manually.

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The functionality is certainly worth giving a spin in its current state, especially if you’re the kind of person who has to drive long distances for work. If you’re not convinced just yet, you may be interested very soon though, as the API behind the mode could be about to give your favourite apps some significant upgrades while you’re on the road.

Starting next year, Google will open up the Activity Recognition Transition API which governs the Driving Do Not Disturb mode to third-party developers. In a blog post announcing the release, Google said that it hopes the new API will encourage developers to “build distraction-free driving experiences”.

There are plenty of ways this could manifest in popular apps, especially those that are commonly used during long car journeys. The most obvious that springs to mind is Spotify, which is already testing a “driving mode” feature of its own. With the new API, the Spotify feature could follow the same automated in-car experience enjoyed by calling and navigation on the Pixel 2.

What apps would you like to see take advantage of the Pixel 2’s DND mode? Let us know in the comments.