Rather than needing to buy a special (and sometimes expensive) gadget, you’ll soon be able to use your Pixel (and other Android devices) as a dashcam for your car after the upcoming Personal Security update.
About APK Insight: In this APK Insight post, we have decompiled the latest version of the app that Google has uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APK for Android apps), we can see various lines of code inside this token for possible future features. Please note that Google may or may not ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to launch the ones closer to completion, but to show you what they’ll look like if they ship. With that in mind, read on.
On select Android devices — primarily Google’s Pixel phones, as well as other devices like the Nothing Phone (1) — the Personal Safety app offers useful features like Emergency Sharing, Safety Check, and Car Crash Detection. This evening, Google appears to have mistakenly launched a “trial” build of Personal Security via the Play Store – trial version 2023.04.27.532191641.8.
Inside, our team was able to launch a new feature called Dashcam, which, as the name suggests, records video (and optionally audio) while you’re driving. If your phone is installed in the correct location, the recording should provide useful information in the event of an accident or other unexpected situation.
Once available, the feature can be activated via a new Dashcam shortcut in the Get Ready section of the home page. Here you can start recording manually or watch your latest videos. While the dashcam is recording, your phone is still fully usable, including for navigation with Google Maps. Alternatively, you can save power by locking your screen and the recording will continue.
More importantly, Google designed this feature to work without you having to think too much about it. During setup, you can choose to have recordings automatically start when you connect to a certain Bluetooth device (ie a car stereo or infotainment system) and end when you disconnect.
To save storage space, your notes are automatically deleted after three days unless you save them. Additionally, the app says that the videos are self-compressed, averaging “30 MB per minute” with a maximum recording time of 24 hours.
Overall, the feature looks impressively well thought out and ready to go. Using a smartphone as a camcorder also makes some sense because your phone has a better camera than what some cheaper cameras offer.
However, we’d like to see the option to use an ultra-wide lens to present a larger image. We wonder how Personal Security can do this kind of always-on recording without generating too much heat, especially if your phone has to be mounted in a position that will see a lot of direct sunlight.
Nothing in the spec text mentions Pixel exclusivity, so it remains to be seen if Dashcam will be available on other phones with Google Personal Safety. If this is an exclusive, the next big opportunity for Google to launch Pixel features will be next month’s Pixel Feature Drop in June.
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