Google unveils a $249 smart camera that decides what’s worth photographing

You can leave it lying around or wear it.

At today’s hardware event, Google has announced a surprise new product: Clips. It’s a little standalone camera that changes how pictures are taken. The Clips device itself figures out when something exciting is happening—happy faces, good lighting, interesting framing—and, when it thinks the time is right, it records (silent) video captures.

This transforms photography from something with an actively involved photographer into something passive that should help capture spontaneous, natural events. If you don’t trust the software and want to guarantee that a particular picture is taken, Clips has a manual capture button, too. And high-resolution stills can be taken from the videos.