How to Use a Google Clips Camera

Google’s clever new AI-powered camera is designed to capture stellar 7-second snippets of family shenanigans. Here’s how to get started.

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1. Wave Hello

There’s a chip inside the Clips loaded with a version of ­Google’s ­computer vision code. It can learn to recognize faces, so train it to know yours. When you first get the camera, wave and smile at it, and take a lot of selfies and ussies. It can also recognize pets—give your cat plenty of screen time too.

2. Place It

The rubbery case serves as a kickstand and a clip (get it?) for fastening the device to an object. Proper positioning is key. Clamp it to a chairback to capture kitchen antics, or face it inward from a bike’s handlebars to see your kid’s reaction to their first ride. Don’t clip it to your belt—too much movement turns your videos into unshareable mush.

3. Show Emotion

The camera isn’t always slurping up the action; it only cares about the richest moments. The onboard AI responds to movement and emotion. If you’re just sitting around, it probably won’t record anything. But if you smile, wave your arms, or do a cartwheel, it will wake up and start filming. Press the button on the front to force it to pay attention when you sense an interesting moment approaching.

4. Learn to Share

The Clips doesn’t livestream, nor does it automatically upload your private footage to the cloud. Pair the device with an iPhone, Pixel, or Galaxy to view your captured videos. Use the companion app to edit your clips and choose which ones are awesome enough to share—and whom to share them with.

5. Compose Yourself

Clips is a supersmart camera, but the traditional rules of photography still apply. Avoid backlight, for one. Also, fill as much of the frame with your subject as you can. Filming from many yards away will give you less than satisfying results. Don’t expect good clips of the soccer game—your phone is still a better choice for wide-ranging action. But definitely prop Clips up on the table during the postmatch pizza party.

6. Join the Fun

One of the biggest ­benefits of the Clips is that you get to stay engaged in ­family activities rather than distracted by having to take pictures and videos yourself. After you compose that perfect shot in the Clips app, put your phone back in your pocket. You can actually be in the photo for once—enjoy it.


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