Google is launching a new camera that’s designed to snap pictures and shoot video without a lot of user intervention. It’s called Google Clips, it feels like a souped up version of the Narrative Clip, and it’s coming soon for $249.

The little camera is also the one thing we didn’t see coming. Pretty much everything else Google unveiled at its October 4th event was leaked weeks or months ahead of time.

So what are you supposed to do with this little camera? basically you can put it anywhere and let it do its thing. Clip it to your clothes. Put it on your kids’ toys or your pet’s collar. Or just place it on the dining room table.

You can manually snap a picture by tapping a shutter button or by hitting a virtual shutter button using the Clips smartphone app. But otherwise it’ll use machine learning to figure out the best times to capture pictures or videos.

Theoretically, this should eliminate a problem with lifelogging cameras that just take a photo every x seconds: you’ll get a bunch of pictures and videos you didn’t plan, but they should all be interesting. Theoretically, anyway.

The camera synchronizes with a Google Clips app for Android or iOS and it can save your images to Google Photos. Users get unlimited cloud storage with Google Photos.

Google acknowledges that you might not want an always-on camera running 24/7 in your house and saving your content to the cloud. So the company notes that machine learning happens on the device itself, and a camera indicator lights up whenever the camera’s in use.

The company also suggests it “works best when used at home with family and close friends.” That’s not just for privacy reasons though: Clips also figures out who’s around the most to determine the people that are important to you so that you can get more pictures of the folks that matter most in your life.

Google Clips has 16GB of built-in storage and doesn’t require an internet connection to work. But once photos are synchronized to your phone you can choose to share images or videos with anyone (or noone).

The camera weighs about 2 ounces, offers up to 3 hours of smart capture battery life, charges via a USB Type-C port, and has a 130-degree field of view with auto-focus support. Interestingly Google doesn’t explicitly mention the resolution on its website.

via Google

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10 replies on “Google Clips is a tiny $249 camera that uses AI for photos, videos”

  1. I really like the concept. Birthday party, Thanksgiving, Christmas…
    just clip this on for 3 hours and it is like having a professional photographer. You could use it like a GoPro that takes snapshots, it picks the best shot every 1 minute. Have a mount in the car for it to be a dash cam… it could have a video loop record feature where you could press a button and get the previous 5 minutes and the next 5 minutes of video saved to a file. Lots of potential. It helps people live in the moment rather than trying to capture it with your phone.
    Sign me up.

    1. It has to work when you wear it. I should be significantly better than a video recording GoPro. That is my expectation.

  2. This reminds of the Google Nexus Q-(ball). It’s one of those things that gets you scratching your head and go…WTF. Google has laid plenty of eggs, and I’d wager that this is another in that long line.

    Maybe it can be hacked into a smart security cam or something. Or maybe a smart baby cam…but there are already plenty of cheap baby cams.

    Q-ball sez $50 fire sale by new year.

    Google has really fallen off the pedestal. Every one of its announced products is either mediocre or me-too, or a copycat of an existing product. Then you get weird ones like this.

    1. The Nexus Q was the predecessor to the Chromecast, so I don’t see what’s so strange about that. Someone will find a novel use for this as well, and this will be reworked and rebranded into the new Chromecam or something and it’ll be great. Or it’ll die silently.

  3. Too bad so many of these products are design to sync with a vendor’s cloud storage. I’d rather have them upload to a server running on my own LAN.

  4. 3 hours battery life? Is that 3 hours of constantly taking pictures or 3 hours of actual usage?

  5. That seems really cool and really creepy at the same time. Might be nice for people who aren’t good for smart phones such as grandma and grandpa to have around but for most people, it seems a little redundant.

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