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Google Clips is Watching You: Google's new action camera automatically snaps shots, records video

An always on camera?
An always on camera?
Google Clips is a small wearable action camera that automatically takes pictures of what it judges to be special moments. It learns who the important people in your life are via machine learning, and it may pose a serious privacy concern.
Sam Medley,

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Today’s “Made By Google” event was a look into the future of smartphones and connected smart home devices, but one accessory is actually reminiscent of the past; 1984, to be exact. Among the myriad gadgets announced by Google today is a small action camera with an interesting (and potentially worrying) feature: Google Clips.

Google Clips is a wearable (or “clippable”) micro-camera that is meant to “capture more genuine and spontaneous moments of the people-and pets!-who matter to you [sic].” In addition to being a fairly run-of-the-mill action camera capable of taking a quick photo here and there, Google Clips uses “machine learning” to automatically snap a shot when it judges conditions are just right for the perfect photo.

According to Google, users can teach the camera who the important people in their life are so that, once turned on, the camera will always be watching and waiting for that perfect moment. 

The intent behind the camera is to free up parents and pet-owners so they can be a part of the action rather than sit behind a camera or smartphone taking pictures. However, the execution is a bit… unsettling. Clips not only takes still photos but can also capture a few seconds of action, and it does this automatically. 

Google addressed these privacy concerns with a few features embedded in the camera. First, the device will have a light that indicates when it’s recording or capturing a video or image. The data giant was also quick to point out that images and clips stay on the device until a user chooses to save them. Until then, image previews will sync to the user’s smartphone via the Google Clips app. It was also mentioned that the machine learning behind the automated shots take place solely on the device itself. However, it must be said that no device is foolproof, and a compromised Google Clips device may be an unwanted gateway into someone’s personal life. It’s a terrifying (and entirely plausible) possibility. We’ll have to wait and see how secure Clips really is, and only time will give us that answer.

Google Clips will retail “soon” for USD $249 in the United States. It will be compatible with Google’s own Pixel smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S8 lines, and the iPhone 6, 6S, 7, and 8. 

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Image: Google
Image: Google
Image: Google
Image: Google
Image: Google
Image: Google
 

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Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Senior Tech Writer - 1129 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2016
I've been a computer geek my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a database administrator. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news and reviews. I've also written for other outlets including UltrabookReview and GeeksWorldWide, focusing on consumer guidance and video gaming. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not writing on electronics or tinkering with a device, I'm either outside with my family, enjoying a decade-old video game, or playing drums or piano.
contact me via: @samuel_medley
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 10 > Google Clips is Watching You: Google's new action camera automatically snaps shots, records video
Sam Medley, 2017-10- 4 (Update: 2017-10- 4)