Google Clips: A Not So Smart Camera

    Google has just released its highly anticipated smart-camera: Google Clips. The first of its kind, while the device meets many expectations, at also falters on a few. Check out the details here:

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    When Google announced Clips late last year at its Pixel 2 launch event, no one was really sure what they should expect. And now that it’s been launched, the situation hasn’t changed much.

    Let’s first try to understand what this gadget really is- it’s not an always-on camera. It is not an action camera like GoPro. And it’s not a security camera as well. That is, you aren’t recommended to clip it on your clothing or helmet to record your actions or rely on it to keep you posted of suspicious activities in your home.

    Google calls it a smart camera- the first of its category. And it is named Clip not because it has an attachable clip like GroPro but because it shoots 7-second videos called- clips. Now let’s take a look at how this first of its kind camera comes out:

    Design

    Going by the looks, it seems more like a plastic prototype than a real camera. With a single button and lens on the front and nothing on the back except for the Google logo, it takes the minimalist design to a new level. Fun fact- that single button the device too wasn’t in the original design but has only been added after feedback.

    You would also find a hole to reset the device and a USB port at the bottom for charging.

    Performance of Google Clips

    First things first- the camera isn’t made for users to take pictures. The point of the camera is that it itself will decide which pictures are worth taking when you are not paying attention.

    It uses AI, ML, and face recognition to identify people and pets (currently only cats and dogs) and keeps looking for interesting shots to take. You can connect it with Google Photos to boost its ability to recognize people in your circle.

    Now what exactly it finds “interesting” is the true magic behind this camera and is also the reason it is a hit and miss for now. After all, when you place the camera at some point, you have no way of ensuring that it takes any particular shot. But if you do want to indulge manually, you can use the companion app as a viewfinder and use the shutter button- running counter to the purpose of Clip.

    The 7-second clips it records too aren’t exactly videos but burst shots taken at 15fps- which it latter stitches together to create videos. This not only helps it drastically reduce the size (the absence of microphones also aids in the cause) but also makes it convenient for users to take out their favorite frame.

    With three hours of battery life, you can leave it around your kids or pets to ensure you do not miss in case they do something “interesting”. The camera has 16GB of onboard storage that means it will be a while before you have to delete or transfer your files.

    So, is it worth the asking price of $250? Well, it depends. Do you have an iPhone, Pixel, S8 or S7? Because the smart functionality is currently supported only on these devices. If yes, and you also happen to have kids or pets at home, it might be an interesting addition to your gadgets. If no, you should probably wait for a while for Google to add support for more devices and in the meanwhile maybe even get yourself a pet.

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