While the tech world was anticipating a couple of new Pixel handsets and some really smart speakers, Google has surprised the attendees of its hardware-centric event by unveiling a digital camera. The new launch, called the Google Clips, sits between the rugged GoPro Hero series and simple vlogging cameras such as a DJI Osmo and Xiaomi's Yi 4K.
Google Clips comes with a 12-megapixel image sensor that has a 130-degree, wide-angle lens on top. There is also a physical shutter button and an LED signal light. Alongside the basics, Google has integrated its artificial intelligence (AI) efforts to make the Clips a smart family camera.
"We've put machine learning capabilities directly into Clips so when you turn it on, the camera looks for good moments to capture," said Juston Payne, product manager for Google Clips.
Machine learning capabilities enable the Clips to detect stable, clear shots from what it sees in the real world. This helps you to get some deblurred moments. Additionally, the camera is capable of learning the faces of your loved ones over time and can even recognise your pets to capture their movements while on the go.
Just like a typical GoPro Hero camera, Google Clips doesn't have a viewfinder. But, of course, you can taste a bit of Internet of Things (IoT) by transforming your smartphone's screen into a monitor. You can leverage the provided silicone clip on the Clips to attach it to your jeans' pocket or place it on a table.
Advanced image capturing features
By default, the Clips records seven-second moving images from its environment -- using AI power and image recognition algorithms. You can, however, press its shutter button to capture your essential shots. The clicked shots can be exported as Motion Photos, GIFs, JPEGs or movie files.
A dedicated Google Clips app is designed for Android and iOS devices to sync the captured clips wirelessly. "Simply swipe to save or delete your clips, or choose an individual frame to save as a high-resolution still photo," Payne explained.
In addition to the native app, you can take backup tons of your moving images using Google Photos. This would help Google expand the existing userbase of its image-saving service, which presently competes against Apple Photos with over 500 million users.
Google is bringing the Clips to the US market with a price tag of US$249 (approximately SG$339). Notably, since the target audience of the new development is not as big as the one for the GoPro Hero range, its availability is likely to be limited at the initial stage.