What just happened? It's been discovered that Google is carrying out internal tests that will allow Pixel phone owners to turn their devices into vehicle dashcams. As with dedicated dashcams, the feature will let users record video and audio (optionally) while they are driving.

It appears that Google revealed the new tool by accident when it pushed onto the Play Store a beta version of the Personal Safety app, which has features such as Emergency Sharing, Safety Check, and Car Crash Detection.

9To5Google examined the release and managed to enable a new feature called Dashcam, launched from a new button in the Be Prepared section.

Once accessed, it takes users to a setup screen where they can opt whether to start Dashcam automatically when connected to a vehicle's system via Bluetooth, and have the phone record audio as well as video.

After the initial set up, the Dashcam shortcut will let users start recording videos or view previous recordings. Phones are still usable while recording, including using Google Maps. You can also turn off the screen and the recording will continue.

The recorded videos are compressed and reportedly average about 30MB per minute. Up to 24 hours of video can be recorded, and they're automatically deleted after three days to save space unless they're saved first.

As the publication notes, turning a phone into a dashcam could work well, given that many mobile cameras are better than those found in some (admittedly much cheaper) dedicated dashcams. There are already several apps that do the same thing, but Google's integration into its own device should offer extra benefits and functionality.

The feature sadly doesn't allow for the use of a camera's ultrawide lens, which would have been helpful in capturing more of the road and its surroundings. There's also a question of overheating, which some Pixel 7 Pro's are reportedly susceptible to on warm days.

It does sound as if the feature will be one exclusive to the Pixel as the phone is mentioned in the text, though that's not 100% certain yet. If it is limited to Google's phones, we can expect to see it arrive in June's Pixel Feature drop next month.