People take photographs to capture a moment to reminisce in the future. However every photographer has that one moment when an amazing photographic moment presents itself but for one reason or another something goes wrong the moment passes and they miss the opportunity to capture it.
That was the main problem that Google was trying to solve when they came up with the new Google Clips camera. The Google clips which started selling on February 27th 2018 for $250 is essentially a smart and unpredictable device that uses artificial intelligence and facial recognition to automatically capture important moments in your life.
The tech giant intended the device for all those moments one might miss when they don’t have a camera or phone with them to capture a precious moment such as a baby’s first steps, hilarious dancing or a pet’s peculiar moment (especially cat owners). Google also came up with Google clips to help parents interact with their children directly without the camera or phone distracting them while getting some photos for posterity.
This camera is unlike any other typical camera in the market today. At its core, the camera is a hands free automatic point-and- shoot that is considerably smaller and flatter unlike other kinds of cameras. It has an attractive appearance that is instantly recognizable as a camera, or as a camera app icon.
Google learnt their lesson from the design of the Google Glass, where bystanders were unsure whether the camera was on use, and came up with a device that looked like a typical camera. It features a single lens protruding from the square body with three indicator lights and a shutter button which make up the front interface of the Google clips camera.
It also features a USB-C port at the bottom for charging the device. It measures about 49, 49 to 20 millimeters and covered with Gorilla Glass (among the toughest in the world) to protect it from scratches and drops. It also features a silicone holster to make it easy to attach the camera on a flat surface and white lights to let people around know that the camera is in use (one of the design flaws of Google glass.)
- 130 degrees lens field of view
- Up to 3 hours of smart capture
- 16 GB memory
- WI-FI and WI-FI Direct and Bluetooth connection to iPhone, Google Pixel or Samsung galaxy S7/S8
- 55 pixel size
- 15 Frames per Second recording
- Supports GIF,MP4, JPEG file formats
- USB –C charging
- Familiar face detection capture and Pet detection
How it works
When turned on, (which is done by turning the lens a quarter turn clockwise) the pocket sized camera captures snippets of footage ‘Clips ‘ (hence the name ) roughly seven seconds long and still shots whenever it detects faces or pets nearby. However you may need a microphone to record audio. The clips camera uses amended versions of algorithms that power the Google photo app which uses the photo storage service to identify people, pets and objects.
The big button at the front of the camera can be used to manually take photos, or you can use the app on your phone to see what the camera is viewing and take shots from the phone. However that is not the main intention of clips, its main idea was to let the camera and Google algorithms take pictures automatically so that you can enjoy the moment and look at the memories at a later time.
The AI technology employed looks for criteria created from years of data analysis such as smiles, gesticulation or a pet entering a frame. You can also train it with people that matter to you by linking it with your Google photos account.
The camera is supposed to learn the faces of important people who it’s exposed to on a regular basis and Google photos data helps expedite the process. Actually Google says that it spend 3 years studying what people do with cameras by studying three professionals’, a photojournalist, a filmmaker and a fine arts photographer to train the camera how to take good shots.
Every photo and video taken with Google clips is stored locally on the actual camera, meaning that captured content doesn’t go anywhere. When wirelessly connecting the camera to you4r phone, Clips camera streams the captured photos and videos to the app over WIFI direct.
At any time one can open the Google clips phone app and swipe left or right to save or delete the selected still images from the videos. The AI software can then try to capture more photos which closely resemble what you save and less of what you delete- the beauty of automation.
Our take on Google clips camera
Many people who have used the Google clips camera have sited privacy concern issues as one of the main reasons why they are not keen to embrace the technology. Even the tech mogul, Elon Musk is quoted to have said “This doesn’t even seem innocent,” in a tweet shortly after Google announced the Clips technology in October 2017.
Just like musk, many people share the same reservations, thinking that maybe Google created a creepy surveillance contraption. But the truth is Google Clips is not one of those infamous snooping devices imposed to us by ill-intentioned tech companies as is popular in Sci-fi movies.
If anything, the Google clips camera doesn’t connect to the internet, its intelligence lives on the camera and not in any cloud based storage. You have to prompt the camera to save the photos or delete them with a companion android or iPhone app.
SO, yes it may make people uncomfortable or a turd bit unwilling to embrace it,( just like many flagship technologies ) but at the end of the day, the prospects that it presents to parents and pet owners of not ever missing those priceless moments make it worth a try.