Google is adding a built-in Dashcam feature to Android phones

Google appears to be working on a native dashcam recording feature for some Android phones that could run in the background for up to 24 hours, and it sounds pretty great. 9to5Google grabbed screenshots of an update to the Personal Safety app for Android phones with the option that appeared to be part of an internal test that was accidentally uploaded to Google Play.

The app apparently uses compressed video to save space and lets you turn your screen off or pop over to another app — say Waze or Google Maps — while recording continues in the background. You’ll also be able to set up triggers, like connecting to a specific Bluetooth device, to begin recording automatically as soon as you start your car. And you can configure it not to record audio.

Recordings will be automatically deleted after three days (you can save specific videos to prevent this), and recording will automatically stop at 24 hours. 

Dashcam apps are nothing new, as there are plenty in both the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store, and many of them can even run in the background. But if you’ve ever tried to use your smartphone as a dashcam, you already know the limitations.

Recording hours of high-resolution video quickly gobbles up storage (though dedicated dashcam apps like Droid Dashcam let you configure recording resolution), and your phone, which probably already runs warm if the camera is open long enough, gets super hot when it’s sitting in the sunlight pouring through your windshield while recording video or using a GPS app.

Another issue is whether or not an app is considerate of things like optical image stabilization, which can be damaged by the tiny vibrations some engines, such as those on motorcycles, generate (something I experienced years ago while

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Free Android and iOS Apps of the week

How has your week been so far? Hopefully things have been good for you, and like we faithfully do twice each week, we scour the Internet to look for something that might interest you in this week’s edition of free apps of the week.

These usually paid apps on Google Play and Apple App Store are currently free for a limited time. Grab them on your Android or iPhone before they revert to paid status. While they’re free as of publishing, offers can expire without warning due to developer-controlled pricing. The promotional period for apps on these platforms is unpredictable and can end suddenly.

We also want to note that while we do look through this list of free apps and do not offer anything that comes with low ratings, we did not install and test them out like how we do with our Top 5 Apps of the Week. Therefore, we recommend that you exercise caution and conduct your own research before downloading any of these apps, as some may contain in-app purchases or hidden costs.

Tip: If you find an interesting app on our list but don’t need it now, install and then delete it. This saves it to your app library, allowing you to install it later for free, even after the promotion ends.

Android apps available for free for a limited time

Android apps for productivity and lifestyle

  • Speedometer GPS Pro [4.6-stars / $0.99]: Use this app to track your speed, distance, time, location and obtain your start time, elapsed time, average speed, and other information at a glance.
  • How Much Can I Spend Premium [4.6-stars / $2.99]: Want to keep track of your daily expenses? Make life easier for you with this nifty app.
  • Home Workouts No Equipment Pro [4.8-stars / $1.49]:
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5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week

Google Home App Refresh 2022 1

Welcome to the 484th edition of Android Apps Weekly. This one is also a bit longer than most, thanks to Google I/O 2023. Here are the big headlines from the last week:

  • Skyline, the Nintendo Switch emulator, was shut down this week. The developers received a DMCA takedown request from Nintendo. It’s not for the emulator itself but rather the method the developers use to dump security keys. You can read more about it at the link.
  • Google Play Store ads are apparently getting worse. The Play Store is now offering ads and limited-time events when you search for something. It only shows up after clicking on the search bar, but they are easy enough to ignore. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but you’ll definitely notice it.
  • Samsung and Google are working together to make background apps more reliable. In fact, Samsung promises that One UI 6.0 (built on Android 14) won’t kill your background tasks as frequently as it does right now. This is a big deal since Samsung’s penchant for shutting down background tasks is legendary.
  • Android’s Find My Device network will soon use Bluetooth proximity to help track your Android phone. It’ll also work with Tile, Chipolo, Pebblebee, and more trackers over time. In short, this brings Android’s Find My Device network in line with Apple’s by using every Android phone in the world to help find yours. That’s great news. Read more about it at the link.
  • Android 14 Beta 2 arrived for Pixel phones this week. The new update includes support for 10-bit HDR, lossless USB audio, and out-of-the-box support for Health Connect. Hit the link to learn more details, but we knew most of this stuff was coming already.
  • Google I/O 2023 had a number of app-related announcements. We’ll list them all briefly
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Google Chrome to get Android 14’s Predictive Back gesture feature

Last updated: May 15th, 2023 at 06:57 UTC+02:00

Google shared at the I/O 2023 how developers are working towards adopting the Predictive Back feature in Android 14. Now the latest reports suggest that Predictive Back will be a prominent feature in Android 14, as Chrome developers might also adopt the Predictive Back feature in Android 14. The feature will come to Samsung phones and tablets running Android 14-based One UI 6.0 later this year.

Predictive Back basically shares a preview of the homescreen as you swipe away from the edge, and it shrinks the current app. As per Google, back-to-home animations prevent users from accidentally exiting the app and give them better control. Users can test this Predictive Back feature in Android 13.

Predictive Back will also be applied to the navigation bar as well

Android 14 Predictive Back Gesture

All they need to do is head over to Settings and click on System. Then select Developer Options and tap on Predictive Back animations. While the feature is optional in Android 13, it will be enabled by default in Android 14. With Android 14, Google will add the Predictive Back feature that offers a preview of the previous screen where you will eventually land after completing the gesture. Google shared key developments at the Google I/O 2023 event, including how Reddit is experimenting “with collapsing a post as you swipe back to the feed and Chrome is also prototyping the previous web page as you swipe back.”

For developers, there is an option to opt-in for the predictive back animations per activity instead of applying them to the entire app. Material You components are also taking advantage of the Predictive Back animations in Side Sheets, Search, and Bottom Sheets. The Predictive Back feature will soon be used with the bottom navigation bar

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Google Contacts for Android rolling out birthday notifications

As we’ve been tracking since March, Google Contacts is now rolling out birthday notifications and encouraging users to add that information.

If birthday notifications are rolled out on your device, opening the Highlights tab in Google Contacts will show an “Add birthdays” card under the For you section: “Save your contacts’ birthdays to see them on your birthday calendar and get helpful cues here and across Google services.”

Tapping “Add birthdays” brings you to a list UI that’s optimized for fast, en masse date entry. A cake icon appears next to people without birthdays, and you can add that information by scrolling through month, day, and year. It’s unclear how you get back to this interface once you remove the card.

Meanwhile, once this feature is rolled out, you can open an individual contact and head to the overflow menu, where you’ll find a new “Add birthday notification” option.

This is not yet widely rolled in version 4.7.26.x. It follows Google Contacts adding Individual and Favorite Contacts homescreen widgets last month.

More on Google Contacts:

  • Contacts for Android gets navigation rail and dual-column tablet redesign
  • Google Contacts feed highlighting upcoming birthdays with ‘For you’
  • You can now edit Google Contacts directly from the Gmail sidebar
  • You can now set Google Illustrations in Contacts for Android

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This Week in Apps: Google I/O 2023 recap; Android, apps and AI; Twitter’s new CEO

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.

The app economy in 2023 hit a few snags, as consumer spending last year dropped for the first time by 2% to $167 billion, according to’s “State of Mobile” report. However, downloads are continuing to grow, up 11% year-over-year in 2022 to reach 255 billion. Consumers are also spending more time in mobile apps than ever before. On Android devices alone, hours spent in 2022 grew 9%, reaching 4.1 trillion.

This Week in Apps offers a way to keep up with this fast-moving industry in one place with the latest from the world of apps, including news, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and much more.

Do you want This Week in Apps in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here:

This week, Google held its annual developer conference, which meant there was a tidal wave of news about new Google products — like its midrange Pixel 7a smartphone, Pixel Tablet (with its great magnetic combo stand and speaker) and its first folding phone — the pricey ($1,800) Pixel Fold.

But the real star of the show was, of course, AI, and how Google is integrating it into a range of products and services from the workplace to coding to translation — and yes, even into Google Play and app developer tools.

If you missed the big event, TechCrunch has a Google I/O wrap-up, where you can find all the news, including AI announcements, like its next-gen large language model PaLM 2, other developer updates, like updates to Vertex AI and an ML Hub to train AI models, new Search features, a new GitHub Copilot competitor and more.

In terms of news

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