Science & Technology

Pixel phones can automatically record a video in an emergency

Although it develops Android for a wide variety of OEM partners, Google naturally reserves some exclusive features for its own Pixel phones. The Personal Safety app, for example, gives Pixel owners a more powerful tool that will ensure their safety or, in the worst-case scenario, at least let their loved ones know their whereabouts in an emergency. Sometimes, however, simple words or even calls aren’t enough to give a clear idea of the situation, so now Google will allow Pixel users to record video that can be automatically sent to emergency contacts as needed.

The Personal Safety app already features a good number of toggles and options you can tweak once, so you won’t have to think of them in case of an emergency. Although some of these can be triggered automatically, like in the event of a car crash, there are times you might want to manually activate that instead. The latest update to the app does exactly that, letting a user press the power button five times to engage an “emergency SOS” mode.

XDA, however, reveals that there’s more to the update than just that trigger. The app now has the ability to record a video clip up to 45 minutes in length that can then be automatically sent to emergency contacts. All of these are optional, and the user can opt to manually stop a video recording at any time or decline sending it to others. The plethora of options might actually be a bit confusing, so it pays to set them once and for all.

There are a few caveats to this video recording feature that Pixel owners should be aware of. Despite Google’s best algorithms, a 45-minute video can end up being quite large, and you’ll need both storage space and a stable Internet connection to send it. Video recording will also keep on going until it either reaches the 45-minute mark, or the user manually stops it. In some emergency situations, those might not exactly be possible.

These videos are backed up to Google’s servers, where they’ll stay there for seven days or until manually deleted. Before that expiration arrives, users can still share links to the video should they need it for some purpose after the incident.

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