Previously this has meant either stretching out the long arm of the selfie, or buying a selfie stick to make sure you get yourself and your exotic location into the shot. Relying on the kindness of passing strangers can put you at the mercy of either terrible photographers, or even worse, phone thieves.
But Google’s new camera, the Google Clips, could change that. The tiny smart camera uses artificial intelligence to learn when to take a great photo for you.
“We’ve put machine learning capabilities directly into Clips so when you turn it on, the camera looks for good moments to capture. Clips looks for stable, clear shots of people you know. You can help the camera learn who is important to you so when grandma comes in town, you’ll capture the grand entrance,” Juston Payne, Product Manager, Google Clips wrote in a blog post shortly after the camera’s launch.
After using the camera for a while, it learns which are the faces that are important to you, so put it in a crowded square, and it’ll focus on your friends and yourself more than anyone else around you. The camera also takes photos automatically, when shots are their most clear with good lighting.
The camera is paired with another device and the photos are sent to that phone or tablet, in a similar way to how GoPro cameras work.
Some people have raised privacy questions regarding the camera, because it could be left somewhere private to take photos. Google has sought to assuage some of those concerns, saying the camera was built to look like a camera so people will know what it’s doing, and a light will be on any time it is taking photos. The camera will cost $249 but doesn’t have a release date yet.