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.