Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
Dash cams are incredibly handy to have in your car, potentially saving you loads of cash in the event of a crash. But it looks like Google wants to reduce your reliance on a standalone dash cam by turning your Android phone into one.
Google seems to have mistakenly pushed out an internal beta version of the Personal Safety app (version 2023.04.27.532191641.8-dogfood), and 9to5Google dug into this version to find and enable a dash cam feature.
Tapping this option allows you to manually record video and optional audio (when mounted in a car) or view recently recorded clips. In a neat touch, Google also lets the phone automatically start recording when it connects to a specific Bluetooth-enabled device (e.g. your car stereo). Either way, you can still access the rest of your phone or lock the screen while recording.
You can record up to 24 hours of video, with file sizes reportedly averaging 30MB a minute. Captured videos are also automatically deleted after three days, giving you a decent window of time to save clips should you need them after the fact.
The outlet also rightfully laments the fact that the dash cam mode doesn’t work with an ultrawide camera. That’s a particularly disappointing omission in light of the fact that dedicated dash cams usually have fields of view in excess of 120 degrees. But we hope Google can add this support down the line.
I do have reservations about using a Pixel phone as a dash cam, though. My personal Pixel 7 Pro received overheating warnings when using it for a timelapse while driving on a warm (but not hot) summer’s day. The device also overheated while using it for GPS navigation on a hot day. So I don’t have much faith that Pixels in particular would cope well with a dash cam mode in summer. Here’s hoping I’m wrong and that Google has optimized this mode accordingly.
In any event, there’s no word on whether this feature will be a Pixel-exclusive right now. So there’s still hope that other OEMs will gain this feature too. But the one certainty is that it is coming and seems to be in the final stretches of development.