Google Maps shows 3D buildings by default on Android Auto

As previously they were not commonly demanded or used, 3D buildings in Google Maps have only been around for years
An undated image shows Google Maps UI. — Unsplash
An undated image shows Google Maps UI. — Unsplash

Google Maps, earlier this year, began displaying 3D buildings on Android Auto while driving. Now, this feature is becoming more widely available, and a pile of additional details about it has also come to light.

While 3D buildings in Google Maps have been around for years, they were not commonly used for navigation. Although Google supported displaying this design while navigating on a phone screen, it was only recently integrated into Android Auto.

Now, it appears to be more widely accessible. 3D buildings are now appearing in Android Auto in vehicles, and notably, the new look is automatically enabled. While Google Maps only displays 3D buildings on a smartphone when the setting is manually enabled, Android Auto shows it by default.

Read more: Google Maps gets smarter with AI for discovering new places

To disable 3D buildings, go to the settings in Google Maps and switch off the feature. It's worth noting that 3D buildings are only visible when Android Auto is in light mode based on my testing. 

When the UI switches to dark mode, the 3D buildings disappear, but they immediately reappear if I manually switch it back to light mode (an option in my car). However, when the feature was first introduced, 3D buildings still appeared in dark mode, so it's possible that this may vary by region, or Google may have removed this view in dark mode since its initial release.

During CES earlier this month, Google also announced that the functionality is being introduced to Google Maps on Android Automotive, the built-in platform in cars such as the Polestar 3, as shown in the image above.

Additionally, Google Maps has made slight adjustments to the appearance of the buttons that are displayed upon reaching a destination, with more noticeable designs for the two buttons.