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Google’s standalone camera Clips is available now

The Clips camera is a $249 AI-powered device that automatically records footage of your family using facial recognition machine learning.

Published onFebruary 27, 2018

Google Clips

Back in January, Google’s standalone, AI-powered Clips camera suddenly went on sale in the Google store. However, within minutes the machine-learning camera was out of stock. Now, the full rollout of the camera is here, with Clips available in the U.S. for $249 from Best Buy, B&H, Verizon, and the Google Store.

Clips is a small camera with a clip on the back that enables you to quickly and easily attach it to various things. The intention is to lock it onto objects that your family and friends interact with to get candid photos and video without anyone having to manage the device.

An example given by Google is to connect Clips to a child’s toy. As the child interacts with the toy, the camera will monitor and take photos and video when the child is looking at the camera. The picture below gives you an idea:

Google Clips

The camera is powered by AI, so it learns as you use it. The more you use it, the better it gets at identifying those special moments when facial expressions are happy and joyous:

Google Clips

Now, you probably think that this sounds like a massive privacy risk. However, Google gives complete control of Clips to the user. There is an indicator light on the device to let everyone know when it is on and looking for good photos, and Clips never shares the images it saves until the user shares them from a connected smartphone.

Speaking of which, Clips does not need a data connection to function, or even an account. The machine learning happens locally on the device and the photos are saved to its 16 GB of onboard storage. When you want to check some footage, the images are moved wirelessly to a connected Android or iOS device. And, if you don’t want to use the machine learning capabilities, there’s a traditional shutter button on the device and a virtual shutter button within the Android or iOS app.

Google seems to be gearing Clips towards parents who want to take lots of pictures of their children doing things around the house but don’t want to be bothered to be taking those photos themselves. With Clips, the camera does all the work and all the parents have to do is go through the footage and pick what they want to share on social media.

What do you think? Will you be grabbing a Clips camera, or does the idea of an AI-powered camera recording your family kind of weird you out?

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