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Up close with Google Clips

Our high-quality photos of Google's intelligent camera.

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Sean Hollister
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James Martin
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1 of 14 James Martin/CNET

This is the Google Clips, and it's truly a camera like none that have come before. This 2-inch square has a built-in miniature neural network (think simple AI) and computer vision chip, so it can take the pictures for you. Just set it down and turn it on. And by pictures, we mean 7-second soundless video clips a la animated GIFs.

It's designed to recognize faces, kids and pets in particular. So it's for families, pretty much.

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Three guesses why it's called the Google Clips? First two don't count.

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You just turn the dial to fire up the camera -- I can easily do it with one hand.

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Then clip the camera close to where the action's about to happen. It captures a wide-angle 130-degree field of view, so it's best if your kids or pets are doing something fun about 3 to 8 feet away.

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The clip also helps it stand up on surfaces that aren't flat. The LED's always on when it's recording, so it doesn't look like a spycam.

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All kinds of fun ways to use the Clips.

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You can also take that rubbery case off. (It looks like a Certs mint, no? It keeps the Clips from looking dusty.)

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When the case is off, the Clips can stand on its own too.

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There's a nice big shutter button beneath the lens if you want to trigger it manually yourself, and another in the companion app -- where you can get a live preview.

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The clip only opens so far, mind you -- not quite half an inch, but close. This drawer is about the max you can do.

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For other applications, though, you can buy a case with a built-in tripod mount. This one's made by Incipio.

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It's simple enough, but it ain't cheap at US$250. (It's not available in the UK or Australia.)

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Yes, we did. 

No, it doesn't work great like this.

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One last shot of the Google Clips, spinning toward the future.

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