Google Clips: First AI Camera

Google recently held a conference at which it presented the latest innovations, among which Google Clips camera made a real splash. Imagine an ordinary digital camera: look at the display, adjust settings, press a button to make a picture ... So, in Clips there is nothing like that! Instead of a person, artificial intelligence is responsible for the photo, and all you have to do is look at the clips that resulted in it. The camera does not have a display at all - she herself looks at the world with her lens, and thinks that this would be removed.

GoPro shares the next day after the introduction of Google Clips fell by 5% and still have not returned to past levels. And the AI ​​in the camera has already shocked Ilona Mask - by the fact that he now "does not even try to seem innocent." Banderolka looking where all this noise.

What a beast

Google Clips is a small plastic device, a square with sides of five centimeters, which can be fixed on the shirt as a clip or put on the table. Externally, the camera looks like an Instagram icon that jumped into the real world. Color - white front and turquoise rear.

To turn on the device, you just need to rotate the lens. Further, according to Google, you can forget about the camera. Clips herself tracks everything that happens in her 130-degree field of view and records seven-second clips of what she finds interesting. Over time, the device remembers faces and tries to take more pictures of “familiar” people and fewer pictures of passersby. The same AI applies to animals. An unfamiliar alien cat that burned past, Clips will not take pictures, if she didn’t do anything special. But your beloved pet - please, it is enough to beautifully turn your head or lift your paw.

Google thinks it will be very nice: leave the camera to look after children or pets and return to the clicked clips with the most fun moments. In addition, the camera adopts the habits of its owners and, over time, it recognizes the faces of those people and animals that often fall into its lens.

The device looks like a traditional camera by the presence of a lens. There is no usual shutter and viewfinder, the device is not designed to be held in their hands. All that is - is a silicone clip, thanks to which the device can be put on a horizontal surface or attached to clothes at any angle, and the port is below for recharging. The clips are transferred to the smartphone via Wi-Fi and open there in a special application. Between them, you can swap to leave your favorite frames. There is also a section with those pictures that the system considers "less interesting." Clips are exported to JPEG, GIF, video formats and Motion Photos (for Samsung smartphones).

How does AI in Google Clips make a shooting decision? At the presentation, Juston Payne , head of the development team for the device, described the train of thought of the machine as follows:

Everything starts with the question: “Is there a face in the frame? Do I know this face? Does this person have certain properties? Open eyes, smile, and the like. ” Further, the AI ​​thinks about how good the frame will look now. Is the lighting appropriate? Will the frame be blurry?
In fact, of course, a little more complicated. For example, Clips have a need for novelty: she will try not to give you the same thing and take into account those pictures that you like.

The user can also act as an operator. In front, under the lens, there is a small shutter, when pressed, a clip is made. And in the application on the smartphone works "live". You can see everything the camera is looking at and remotely order her to start shooting.

Big brother is watching you

After the presentation in the US, of course, there was a fuss about spying by Google. They say, to put an all-seeing eye in your room, which is also thinking of something there, is creepy. There is another camp - for those to whom the design cameras seem very cute, so it seems blasphemous to suspect such a nude object. Google assures that it will always be clear to you if the camera takes pictures, because it will blink a white LED.

Trying to avoid unnecessary rumors, the developers also did everything possible to protect the user's personal information. First, all Clips work is done locally. It does not send any data to Google’s “super-brain”, except for images that you yourself save in Google Photos. Face recognition is also carried out by the camera itself. She does not know where a person lives, and does not match faces with names in any database. Secondly, the created clips are not sent anywhere. They are stored on the camera - until it is synchronized with your smartphone, and you yourself do not ask them to view. Thirdly, these clips are encrypted. If the clip suddenly falls from you during the walk, people will not be able to see what is under her box.

By the way, about this ...

What's inside

Unlike the Google Home smart column, which relies entirely on cloud connectivity, Google Clips is a completely autonomous facility. She looks at what is happening around, selects the moment, takes a picture, sends it to the smartphone - and all this on its own. For a device the size of a little larger than a matchbox, the possibilities are very impressive. This was told by Remi El-Ouazzane, head of the Intel team, who worked on the low-power image processing processor (VPU) for Clips:

We were all surprised how much intelligence Google could fit into such a small device. This smart camera shows the level of built-in AI, which previously we could only dream of.

In order for the electronic brain, working inside Clips, to learn to distinguish a good photo from a bad one, Google collaborated with professional editors and an army of image evaluators. “There is no such machine learning model that could say: a child crawls along the floor, it probably looks good,” Juston Payne explained. Therefore, Google has collected terabytes of its own video. And then the appraisers gave him points, it was marked and became a training base for artificial intelligence. Over time, the device began to understand the psychology of people, to feel what they like, what they are interested in. This process is not complete: Google Clips from the factory is still learning. If you deliver two identical cameras to you and your friend, in a couple of weeks they will start shooting different things.

Google machine learning has a flaw. So far, Clips well recognizes only people and animals (in fact, only cats and dogs - hamsters or domestic pigs are not interesting to the camera). You can not take a device on vacation and hope that she will be delighted with the sunset or make clips with swaying palm trees. Over time, Google is going to expand the machine learning model, to make it support more situations, to be able to understand the world.

As for technical specifications , the device is equipped with a sensor with 12 megapixels; it can record a series of frames at a speed of 15 fps. Internal storage - 16 GB seems very modest, but in fact this is enough to store two full days of clips. No microphone, the device can only record images. The battery lasts for plus or minus three hours of active work - it depends on whether there is something interesting that it can shoot. If there is nothing, the camera, as representatives of Google say, “gets bored”.

Dry residue

So far, Clips can only work with Pixel, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S8 smartphones. Project leaders promise that support for other smartphones is also just around the corner. The official release date of the camera at the presentation was not named. We only know that it will cost $ 249 and will be available in the US in the “near future.”

Google expects that the device will be in demand among young families, owners of dogs or cats and just those who want interesting pictures, but too busy to sit and wait for the perfect frame. Clips have the potential to combine the functions of GoPro, the usual "soap box" and the camera for "life-logging." Confused only by the low quality of images. But all reviewers who got access to the device agree that the artificial intelligence in it is not a marketing ploy, but a really quite useful and interesting helper. You put the camera in the room and calmly play with your children, forgetting everything superfluous. A couple of hours on the camera is full of clips with the most interesting moments.

On the supply of Google Clips in Russia is not talking. But all the other popular gadgets, including the departed “seventh” or new “eighth” iPhone , from the USA at the most favorable rates are delivered by the Banderolk . Save money by buying devices directly in America. Until October 31, we help to place orders at 7 US stores for free (there you can buy good clothes at reasonable prices, for example). And readers of Geektimes who register using this link receive a 7% discount on their first delivery. Ahead is Black Friday, it's time to start preparing!

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