Google Clips: Camera with ‘new angle,’ or a return to creepy?

  • TECH
  • Sunday, 08 Oct 2017

A Google employee holds up the new Pixel 2 smartphone and Google Clips wireless camera at a product launch event on October 4, 2017 at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, California. Google unveiled newly designed versions of its Pixel smartphone, the highlight of a refreshed line of devices which are part of the tech giant's efforts to boost its presence against hardware rivals. / AFP PHOTO / Elijah Nouvelage

Is Google bringing creepy back? 

Some of the reaction to Google Clips, one of the many gadgets the company unveiled Oct 4, is approaching the Google Glass-creep level. 

Clips is a US$249 (RM1,055) clip-on camera that automatically records several seconds worth of bursts of "action" in your life. The company is positioning it as harmless – like GoPro for the mundane – and aimed at people who might want to record precious memories of their kids and pets. 

Not like Glass, which got banned from places such as bars and dark movie theatres, where bespectacled early adopters were known to roam. 

Still, Clips' AI-enhanced capability ("it looks for good moments to capture," Google says) and tiny footprint (it's so small you might forget it's there) are raising concerns about privacy. 

There's no shortage of headlines like this one from the Verge "Google's new Clips camera is invasive, creepy, and perfect for a parent like me." 

Some people were reminded of the movie The Circle, which was based on the Dave Eggers book about an all-knowing tech behemoth that resembles Google. 

But Google says the camera, which is "coming soon," was made with privacy in mind. 

"All the machine learning happens on the device itself," Juston Payne, product manager for Clips, said in a blog post. "And just like any point-and-shoot, nothing leaves your device until you decide to save it and share it." 

Payne also points out that Clips "looks like a camera, and lights up when it's on so everyone knows what Clips does and when it's capturing." 

Believe it or not, the original Glass did not have a light to show people when it was recording. (But the Enterprise Edition, unveiled in July, does.) — San Jose Mercury News/Tribune News Service

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