Google Clips is a small camera that can be worn or placed in a room that will autonomously take photos. Innovative or creepy? (Photo from Google)


I am considering making a Raspberry Pi bodycam for a future product. Then I saw this product last week, now I have to step up my design a notch or two.


Sometimes it feels like the phrase “Live in the moment” is uttered by people more than “Hello.” Whenever you pull out your smartphone to snap a photo or record a short video clip, it can be the first thing out of people’s mouths. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to capture a moment, but if you’re focusing too much on taking pictures, it can be a distraction. Google may have a solution with Google Clips, a body cam that automatically snaps pictures.


Clips is a small, square camera that you can place on your body or just leave in a room, which is recommended by Google. It uses AI to automatically take “motion pictures,” a new picture format that includes brief movement around the frame – similar to Apple’s Live Photo. It doesn’t catch audio, and it doesn’t use any kind of network connection, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally broadcasting something. To start capturing, just twist the lens to turn it on, then set it and forget it.


The camera keeps an eye out for anything it finds interesting, like certain people, facial expressions like smiles, and other indications it should start recording. Over time, it will learn faces and will take pictures of those people rather than a lot of strangers. Plus, it can also recognize pets. Some of its other features include a 130-degree field of view, Gorilla Glass 3, USB C, Wi-Fi Direct, and Bluetooth connectivity. It also comes with 16GB of onboard storages and offers up to three hours of smart capturing per charge.  


While it’s interesting idea, you can’t avoid the fact that it sounds creepy. Not too many people are going to be fine with a camera capturing random moments without their input. And Google knows this. Google product manager Juston Payne addresses this by saying the design of the camera is meant to be obvious. There’s no question that the little device on the table is a camera. Also, everything on Clips happens locally. The only thing that is synched with Google Cloud are the photos you save onto Google Photos. It won’t take pictures of faces it doesn’t recognize and the clips are only stored on the camera itself. They’re also encrypted in case you lose it.


Google Clips retails for $249. With a steep price tag, it’ll be hard to convince most consumers this is something they need. Smartphones are equipped with cameras and most of them are pretty good. While there will be some people interested in Clips, it may have a hard time finding a mass audience.


I am wondering if I could beat that price with my Raspberry Pi version.



Have a story tip? Message me at: cabe(at)element14(dot)com