Babies, dogs and artificial intelligence. Alphabet Inc’s Google is betting this combination proves irresistible with the launch of Google Clips, a pocket-sized digital camera that decides on its own whether an image is interesting enough to shoot. The $249 device, which is designed to clip onto furniture or other fixed objects, automatically captures subjects that wander into its viewfinder. But unlike some trail or security cameras that are triggered by motion or programmed on timers, Clips is more discerning. Google has trained its electronic brain to recognize smiles, human faces, dogs, cats and rapid sequences of movement.
The company sees big potential with parents and pet owners looking to grab candid shots of kids and animals. The Clip shoots seven-second videos, without audio, that can be edited into GIFs or high-definition photos. These images can then be downloaded and shared via smartphone. But Google’s bigger ambition is the mastery – and commercialization – of artificial intelligence, an area where it is investing big. Google executives say success requires tight integration between hardware and software, which is why the search-engine giant keeps plugging away at consumer electronics.The company has yet to dominate with its devices, though its Google Home smart speakers, Chromecast TV dongles and Pixel smartphones have all won high marks from consumers. Each new gadget wires customers more deeply into its suite of services, which will be essential as Google competes with Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Facebook Inc to be a primary hub for entertainment and shopping.