Google Clips – A threat to privacy?

Clips is an accessory launched by Google no too long ago and this automatic camera that users can wear on, is designed to recognize the faces of your friends and family. With Clips, Google aims to change how we record and save memories of special events. While it could be a revolutionary step that can even get ahead from smartphones, it also raises many concerns about its intrusiveness. The camera is aimed at people who love sharing photos of everything that happens on their lives on their social media profiles.

The portable camera can learn the face of the people that you interact with on a daily basis and it uses the data to capture clips that last up to 7 seconds. These short clips focus on your children, parents, siblings, best friends, colleagues and your beloved pets. With the Google Clips app, you will be able to review and curate all the clips that have been captures throughout the day. Then, you can share your favorite ones on social media. Google has made it clear that like with regular cameras, any images captured will be encrypted on your device, until you delete them. In spite of the claims of encryption and security, many people are still concerned about the risks that Google Clips can represent for users’ privacy and security.

What is Life Logging?

Google Clips is Google’s attempt to implement its own version of Life logging, a practice that tracks and stores your personal data. This is already in place through health tracking apps installed on many people’s devices, which monitor physical activity, heart-rates, fitness and more. GoPro is one of the most popular names in this field. This wearable video camera is huge among sportspeople and those who love the outdoors. Many people use GoPro to capture their adventures in nature, extreme sports and more. The origins of Life Logging images can be traced back to Microsoft’s 2001 MyLifeBits project so while the technology is not new and there are many options available, it hasn’t really become popular.

What makes Google Clips stand out?

Google Clips doesn’t seem to bring anything new when compared to other life logging options that have been released in the past, such as Autographer, which stopped working in 2016. This Life logging solution featured a camera that used software very similar to Google’s and it could also select the best time to take a snap automatically. So what makes Google Clips different? Clips allows you to capture videos that last up to seven seconds. It is possible to select still images from the videos once you review what the camera has recorded.

The main challenge for Google Clips is not to stand out from other wearable devices. The real competition for Google Clips are smartphones and in order to be able to get ahead in the race, Google is betting on the ever-changing nature of families and the fact that those moments that deserve to be captured, can be missed when you rely on a smartphone instead of Google Clips. Imagine that your child suddenly starts walking for the first time and by the time you get your phone to take a video, they stop. Clips is designed to help you to avoid missing these moments as you won’t have to reach for your smartphone. While this sounds convenient, it is difficult to confirm if it will be enough.

What are the concerns surrounding Google Clips?

Google is aware of the fact that privacy and security have become major concerns for people around the world. This is why when Google Clips was launched, the company highlighted the features that are meant to address these concerns in the Clips device. Every image is encrypted until you remove them from the Google Clips app and it is not possible to upload images directly from the device. In addition, the camera comes with a LED light that is enabled while recording. It is possible to stop recording anything you want to share or keep. However, people don’t seem to be fully convinced about the security of Google Clips. Many are not even sure if it is a good idea to begin with.

Google Clips risks

The connection between Google Clips and your device is established via WiFi. This means that it could be compromised by hackers, although this possibility is not high since Google’s encryption is not easy to break. The main problem is that once you upload the content captured to your social media profile, the images will contain EXIF Metadata. The data refers to the image itself and it also gives information about the date and time when it was taken, as well as the device used to take it. Even more, it reveals the user’s IP address. The good news is that it is possible to remove the metadata from your images before you upload them. You can follow the below steps:

Windows users can right click the photo they want to upload. Then select Properties and then, select the Details tab. Click Remove properties and personal information. For iOS users, things are slightly more difficult. In order to remove metadata, a third-party app is required. First, you will need to open the image in preview mode, then you can select the Tools dropdown menu and choose Show inspector. In the EXIF tab, you will see information encoded in the image. If you can’t see data there, it means that it worked. Otherwise, you may have to use a premium app such as Photos EXIF Editor. The problem is that even after the EXIF data is removed, hackers can still get access to your IP address from an uploaded photo.

Thankfully, you can protect your privacy with the help of a VPN service. This technology masks your IP address, so by using it on a daily basis, you will avoid that others can trace you or find out your identity, no matter what you do online. You will find a wide variety of options available, but we recommend highly secure and reliable names like ExpressVPN, NordVPN and Private Internet Access. These providers protect your data with high encryption and they offer secure servers that allow you to keep your real IP address hidden and that also let you bypass restrictions.