We Tried It: The New Google Gadget That Turns Your Pet into and Adorable GIF-Making Machine


As a cat owner, I am constantly struggling to show how deep my devotion to my feline fur baby Wallace by constantly bombarding all my friends and followers with photos of him.

Wallace, ever the complex character (like Jesse Bradford in a teen movie), rarely assists with my attempts to share his splendor with the world.

I have a “Recently Deleted” photo album on my phone filled with fluffy orange blurs and shots of the back of Wallace’s head. The pictures I do manage to grab of him where he is staring at the camera don’t seem to measure up to the cuteness I know he is capable of or the staggering quality of celebrity cat photos on Instagram.

So when Google announced the debut of Google Clips, a tiny wireless smart camera that you can set and forget while it captures GIFs, I was intrigued. This seemed to speak to my two-fold issue of wanting dynamic images of Wallace without all the failed photo sessions.

With Wallace as my muse, I gave Google Clips a whirl.

The set-up is simple enough. Google Clips wirelessly syncs with your phone through its IOS or Android app. The entire process takes a few minutes at most, ideal for a 29-year-old who has already installed and deleted Snapchat from her phone several times because it was too confusing to figure out.

After setting it up, all I had to do was turn on the camera (a simple twist of the lens) and pick a place to set it in Wallace’s general area.

At first I just wanted to understand how Google Clips works and, as evidenced by the GIF above, Wallace was interested too. This “boop” shot was the first clip my Google Clips captured.

Once you turn on the camera it starts taking short videos which is automatically added to the app on your phone. Since Google Clips was created with pet owners and parents in mind, it is trained to seek out faces and movement, which means it will upload videos to your app with the most human and animal action.

Now that I had an idea of what the Google Clips was capable of producing, I started experimenting with what angle I could capture. The device literally comes with a clip, allowing you to attach the camera to all kinds of objects … like a lamp that hangs over your cat’s favorite chair.

And, for me, this is where you can find the real joy in Google Clips. The camera films and pushes videos to your app for as long as you have it on (it can last up to 3-4 hours on one charge), which means I could place it somewhere and let it roll without worrying about constantly taking pictures myself.

This allowed me to easily set the camera into some positions that would be more uncomfortable for me personally, and then come back and review the videos Google Clips took later.

For example, I set Google Clips against the back of my couch (somewhere I don’t fit) while Wallace was sleeping nearby, and ended up with the moment where he suddenly arose from a particularly shocking kitty dream.

Like Kelly Clarkson says, some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this. Or you can stop waiting and just get Google Clips to do the work for you.

Once Google Clips has been shooting for a while, all I had to do to get a clip was open my app and scroll through all the clips the camera had taken. Based on face-recognition and movement, Google Clips recommends the most “dynamic” clips, like the one below from Wallace’s play session, but you can also scroll through every clip the camera has captured. At that point it’s just a simple swipe to delete the clip or save it to your phone as a GIF, live photo or video. There is also the option to take frames from any of the clips captured and turn them into photos.

As not a very discerning person when it comes to cat photos, I now have about 38 GIFs of Wallace now saved to my phone.

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Overall, I enjoyed Google Clips. Its $249 price tag may be a little steep for those just looking for one to two special shots, but for parents or pet owners it can turn the often frustrating act of trying to capture your kids or cats at their best — free, uninhibited and not posing— into the simple turn of a lens.

For some of us that is a priceless gift.

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