October 4, 2017 / 11:17 PM / 2 months ago

Google takes on GoPro, Snap with compact smart camera

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Google’s announcement that it was planning to launch a smart video camera as part of its push into hardware sent shares of action camera maker GoPro Inc down more than six percent on Wednesday.

Google Clips will be the first standalone camera from the search and advertising company, which has expanded its hardware business over the last year.

Its signature feature draws on machine learning technology to automatically begin recording when notable actions are detected. Those could include a child cracking a smile or a dog entering the frame.

It was one of a suite of new products unveiled by Alphabet Inc’s Google on Wednesday. Its move into smartphones, speakers and laptops has put the search giant into competition with Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc.

Clips, which Google said is “coming soon,” takes on compact cameras such as GoPro’s Hero5 Session and Snap Inc’s Spectacles as each strives to make the process of recording video simpler and more mobile.

GoPro stock closed down 6.3 percent at $10.39. Shares of Snap, which derives revenue mostly from ad sales on its social media app, dropped 0.75 percent to $14.53.

Google’s camera has a traditional shutter button. But users may also clip the camera onto an object and have Clips automatically record “stable, clear shots” of familiar faces set by the user, the company said. Each shot lasts seven seconds, and the battery survives about three hours in the smart-capture mode, according to Google.

“We hope Google Clips helps you capture more spontaneous moments in life, without any of the hassle,” Google Clips product manager Juston Payne wrote in a company blog post.

Footage wirelessly downloads through an app for Google, Apple and Samsung smartphones. Video can be stored to an unlimited online storage locker provided by Google, and high-resolution photos can be cut from the clip.

At $249, it is comparable to GoPro’s $299 Hero5 Session, which can be controlled by voice for handsfree usage. Snap’s Spectacles, which are sunglasses with a video camera on one corner, records a 10-second video after the press of a button on the frame. They cost $129.

Session and Spectacles are typically used outdoors, whereas Google said its devices “works best when used at home with family and close friends.” GoPro and Snap have not released smart-capture capability. (Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Rosalba O‘Brien)

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