Facebook Smart Glasses: Ray-Ban Stories offers smart eyewear for the first time
The first pair of Facebook-Ray-Ban smart glasses will be available for $299 on Thursday. Ray-Ban Stories are available at just about anywhere Ray-Bans are sold, including LensCrafters and Sunglasses Hut.
In addition to the front-facing cameras for capturing photos and videos, the frames have a rear camera as well. Their camera roll syncs with a companion app called Facebook View, which lets you edit and share clips with other apps on your phone (not just Facebook). The glasses have a physical record button, while you can also control them by saying “Hey Facebook, take a video”.
The glasses feel and look just like regular glasses, which is perhaps the most important feature. A sleeker version of Snapchat’s Spectacles, Ray-Ban Stories have the same basic functionality of taking photos and videos, but they’re made with glasses. There are no screens on these Ray-Bans, unlike the newest Spectacles that were launched earlier this year.
Despite this, speakers built into the frame allow you to stream audio from your phone via Bluetooth, allowing you to make a call or hear a podcast without removing your phone from the pocket. It is possible to change the volume, play, and pause what you are hearing by using the touchpad on the back of the frame.
This is the first product of Facebook’s multi-year partnership with EssilorLuxottica, the European eyewear conglomerate that operates under Ray-Ban. Although they are limited in their capabilities, Ray-Ban Stories are still the most commonly seen smart glasses on the market today. Additionally, both companies hope that their glasses will pave the way for more advanced augmented reality glasses that overlay graphics over the real world.
A unique partnership has been formed between Ray-Ban and Facebook. Luxottica’s wearables chief, Rocco Basilico, first contacted Mark Zuckerberg over two years ago, asking to meet and meet about collaborating on smart glasses. Earlier this year, Zuckerberg publicly expressed the company’s goal of building AR glasses that would one day be as widespread as smartphones. He demonstrated a mock-up of smart glasses, which resembled Ray-Bans, during a 2017 speech at Facebook’s developer conference. The eyewear giant knew it needed to partner with a tech company to build smart glasses when Basilico was running its smart glasses initiative.
What do these glasses do exactly?
In its first smart glasses launch, Facebook makes use of the iconic Wayfarer design that is synonymous with the brand. In addition to round shapes, they are also available as meteor shapes.
It may appear at first that these sunglasses are more ordinary than what they are. However, they come equipped with a pair of 5MP cameras and an LED light near their corners. As you record others, a white LED light is on to alert them that you are recording them.
These smart glasses will allow users to capture videos and pictures of their surroundings. The same can be done with Snap’s Spectacles. The Facebook Assistant voice assistant will allow users to use the capture button and go hands-free with Facebook Assistant to record 30-second videos or take photos.
Users will be able to place and receive calls, too, thanks to Facebook’s glasses’ built-in “open-ear speakers” and three microphones. As part of Facebook’s “enhanced calling experience,” the company uses “beamforming” technology and an “optical noise suppression algorithm” similar to what visitors would experience on headphones.
These glasses will be available both online and in select retail stores. As of now, smart glasses are available in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
Why are Ray-Ban Stories so popular? Where does the Ray-Ban Story come from? And how do they work?
Facebook View app needs to be paired with these smart glasses. Furthermore, these will support the Facebook Assistant so users can tell it to record a video by telling it ‘Hey, Facebook’ and it will do so right away.
Both iOS and Android devices can be paired with the glasses. Right now, the assistant can only be accessed in English.
Through the FacebookView app, users can import how-to videos and photos from smart glasses and edit them. Besides sharing their content via Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, users can upload content via rival platforms such as Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat.
In addition, the recording content can also be saved to the camera roll on a user’s phone, where it can be edited. In addition to a power button, the smart glasses feature a lock function. Chargers can be plugged in via a USB cable and come with a charging case.
Depending on the model, these glasses can sync and record up to 200 photos or up to 50 videos per full charge. With continuous streaming audio and Facebook Assistant turned on, glasses can last up to 6 hours when fully charged.
Do Facebook’s smart glasses put your privacy at risk?
The majority of users will have a serious concern about this. The first issue is that, despite the LED light on, some people do not realize that the Ray-Ban Stories are recording. Secondly, since the smart glasses resemble other Ray-Ban sunglasses, people might not realize that they are wearing Facebook’s special version of sunglasses. Furthermore, the way you can use them is so simple that some users may think they are recording discreet meetings or even chatting up with strangers without their consent. These glasses have the great potential to be misused.
The social media giant clearly knows that privacy is going to be a top concern. A microsite has been created by the company that answers all questions regarding Ray-Ban Stories and privacy. According to Facebook, the View app lets users select where photos and videos from the app should be imported, and how they want them displayed.
As part of Ray-Ban Storie’s smart glasses, the company says it collects information such as battery status, Facebook log-in details, and WiFi connectivity to make them work.
In addition to the number of photos taken and the time spent taking videos, users can opt-in to share other information as well. According to the company, you can change this setting at any time. “Facebook Assistant” is optional for voice command-powered recording, the company says. View and delete voice transcripts are also available to users. There will be no ads when using these. The View app will also be ad-free.
Facebook also says it will not “use your photos or videos to make personalized ads.” But there are other apps that will be able to use that content. The smart glasses are encrypted too, according to Facebook. Glasses can be connected to only one account simultaneously.
Moreover, if these sunglasses are lost, which is quite common, and someone tries to pair them with another Facebook account or phone, any data or media left on the glasses will be automatically deleted. However, the Facebook View app does not have the ability to locate lost glasses.
Click here to know more about Apple AR Glasses.