Blink and you missed it. Google's fancy new "life-logging" camera, Google Clips, officially went on sale yesterday. That's the good news, if you were curious what it might be like to strap a camera to yourself—or stuff it in your house somewhere where people typically congregate—and let it take photos for you instead of managing that on your own.
The bad news? You can't get one. At least, not right now. Google's Clips camera already has a waitlist, and it's doubtful that you'll be able to get your hands on the device in the immediate future. Right before Google switched to a waitlist, estimated shipping times for Clips were already pushing out to March. Either Clips is just that popular, Google underestimated demand for its set-it-and-forget-it camera, or the company just doesn't have an unlimited number to offer in its initial batch.
Though its $249 price tag feels a bit steep for a camera you don't normally control, the entire premise of Clips is quirky enough to be appealing.
"What if we could build a product that helped us be more in-the-moment with the people we care about? What if we could actually be in the photos, instead of always behind the camera? What if we could go back in time and take the photographs we would have taken, without having had to stop, take out a phone, swipe open the camera, compose the shot, and disrupt the moment?" writes Google UX designer Josh Lovejoy.
"And, what if we could have a photographer by our side to capture more of those authentic and genuine moments of life, such as my child's real smile? Those moments which often feel impossible to capture even if one is always behind the camera. That's what we set out to build."
As PCMag's Sascha Segan noted last October, Clips' 12-megapixel camera has a shutter button if you want to go manual, but its GoPro-like design is intended to be worn or placed somewhere, not pulled out of a pocked and manipulated. Using an Android smartphone app, you tell Clips whether you want it to take a few, some, or many photos. And off to the races it goes, snapping video clips of interesting things it recognizes—like your kids or your cat—for around three hours on a single battery charge.
When you're viewing the footage, you can keep the (audio-less) five- to eight-second video clips as videos or extract still images from Google's recordings. As Segan noted, you'll probably be more likely to do the latter, as the videos—recorded in a paltry 15 frames per second—look a bit choppy. The Clips camera comes with 16GB of storage, but we wouldn't worry about the camera filling that up over its three-hour life.