Artificial Intelligence

Google’s new mini AI-powered camera decides when to record clips

EPA-EFE / MONICA M. DAVEY

Google has unveiled a new tiny camera that uses artificial intelligence to decide when to record short clips. Once it is turned on by twisting the lens, the device employs machine learning to recognize faces and interesting situations which it will then record. Over time, Clips learns the faces of both people and animals it usually records and tries to avoid capturing strangers.

Although it has an option of manual recording by hitting a shutter button under the lens, Clips was meant to simply be placed in the room and record when it notices something the user would like to have a memory of. In order not to extremely evade people’s privacy, the camera only records video content, but omits the audio, as it has no microphone.

Clips can be synced with an app, which will be available for both iOS and Android, and let users view the seven-second videos it has captured. People can then decide whether they want to keep the clips or delete them. They are also given an option to capture a certain moment of the video and save it as a photo.

EPA-EFE/MONICA M. DAVEY

Google’s target audience for the product are parents, as well as cat and dog owners. The team behind the product believes that parents will be interested to have pictures of their children taken in order not to miss important and adorable moments they would not normally remember to capture on camera.

“It looks like a camera. It’s pretty obvious. It’s designed to be playful and approachable in its design,” Juston Payne, the product lead for Google Clips said.

Reflecting on possible privacy concerns, Payne noted that the device was intentionally designed to resemble any other camera, so that people can be aware there is a device that may record them. “It was never a goal of ours to make something that blends in,” he stressed.

Furthermore, to ensure private moments don’t end up in your cloud or on your phone, Clips doesn’t automatically sync the content with the app. It only does so when the user asks it to. It also focuses only on people it knows and tries to ignore new faces. For example, in a room full of people, it will try only to record the individuals it recognizes from earlier, such as the camera owner and their family.

Google Clips also has a mask with a clip so users can wear it. However, Payne advises against the idea, since it will not record quality content that way. “Mainly because it requires that you act strangely. Frankly, what I mean by that is like you then have to position your body,” he explained. Google thinks it is a much better idea to simply place the camera somewhere in the room where it is more likely to get a good view.

The release date for Google Clips still hasn’t been revealed, but the company said it is “coming soon” and will cost $249.

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