Menu & Search

How To Get In Your Family Photos with Google Clips Smart AI Camera

How To Get In Your Family Photos with Google Clips Smart AI Camera

Imagine this. Photographs and videos of you actually with your kids.

Google’s trying to solve the age-old problem of parents who are never in their family photos with Google Clips.

Sign me up I thought, where do I click?

Cameras, kids, pets, photographs and Artificial Intelligence, what could possibly go wrong?

If you’re anything like me, the camera roll on your phone consists of thousands of photos of your kids and partner having those ‘magical moments’. You have to constantly ask your partner or friend to hold your phone and take a picture of you with your kids. Or you send your partner’s photos to yourself, through whatever messaging service you use.

Will my kids just remember me as a voice behind the videos? I often think that. As if I don’t have enough to do as a mother, I have to worry about being remembered and encompassed in the memories that only a picture can bring. A picture speaks a thousand words, but if you’re never in them, what does that say.

What is Google Clips?

Introducing Google Clips. The solution to your capturing magical moments with you actually in them. There’s a problem alright, it’s a man made one and not at world peace crisis level, but technology has been solving non-important problems for a very long time.

The idea at the core is a small unobtrusive camera that sits in the corner of a room and magically knows when you, your kids or pets are doing something interesting and records it. All the images are stored on the device which isn’t connected to the Internet and holds 16GB. You have to transfer the images to the app to view them. Security wise, it’s fine, the images are not stored in the cloud so you don’t have to worry about someone hacking it and taking pictures you don’t want anyone to see. Though someone could still break in and steal the thing, but for that, you could use Lighthouse. Ahh, a device for every scenario.

Anyway, let’s get back to the ins and outs of a Smart AI Camera.

Google Clips
Photo Credit: Google

How it works

The camera uses a pretty sophisticated type of machine learning and deep learning algorithm built on the idea of image recognition. Basically, a computer has been shown hundreds of thousands of images of people and pets doing stuff, like smiling or blowing out birthday candles. It then learns what’s interesting and what’s not, by analyzing pixel by pixel. This information is used to make decisions about the right time to take the photo, making the camera smart. The tech behind it is very advanced and a serious amount of work went into development. In order to train their algorithms to ‘decide what’s interesting’, they had to create thousands of videos of people doing things they thought Clips would be capturing.

The Artificial Intelligence bit in the camera is what makes it unique. This is all great in theory and very innovative, but in practice, it’s a disaster. The Google Clips currently works like this.

The device will recognize when humans or animals come into view and starts recording when it sees something interesting. It has a fixed lens, so it can’t track, move and follow people. So you have to be in the line of view or position the camera yourself. Hence the clip on the back of it.

It also doesn’t actually record video, it takes a series of images and links them together to make a 7 second GIF, known as a Clip.

I won’t be rushing out to buy one anytime soon. It’s a whole lot of hassle with a very expensive price tag. A portable mobile phone tripod would solve my problems just as well. Clips has a lot of issues but as a proof of concept product, I think the idea is great but the execution needs plenty more work.

I do appreciate that like all cool tech, something has to have gone before in order to develop what lies ahead. Google Clips has a long way to go, but it’s a great start.