For $250, Google will sell you a tiny, cube-shaped smart camera capable of learning what you and your family look like. It’ll also learn what your puppy looks like.
Called Google Clips, the camera has, well, a clip on the back, and according to Google, uses AI to figure out when something photo-worthy is happening in front of it. The minimalist device has just one button — a shutter you likely won’t use much — and doesn’t have a display. You pop it down and walk away and … that’s it. Clips should do the rest for you.
So, for example, let’s say you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your house. You could set up your Clips camera on the kitchen counter, or atop your fridge, or beside the cranberry dressing. (You can also clip it to yourself, but don’t expect this thing to replace your GoPro anytime soon.)
From there, Clips assesses what is going on around it and photographs things that are interesting. It won’t take pictures of things that are moving too quickly to capture, and it won’t photograph your hand if you reach to pick it up. But it will snap seven-second clips of your family and friends milling around, particularly faces it has seen repeatedly. (AI, man, it’s cool stuff.)
The battery lasts about three hours, but that depends on what the camera is seeing, since it will shut off if there’s nothing to record. The camera has a 130-degree field of view and 16 GB of storage. Photos aren’t synced to your phone — the camera works with a limited number of devices, including Google Pixels and iPhones — automatically, and photos are encrypted on the camera itself to protect users. If you want one, you’ll have to add yourself to Google’s wait list to be alerted when the cameras are finally available. Which should give you enough time to figure out whether or not you want to drop $250 on this little gadget.