Facebook’s smart glasses have a built-in camera and Ray-Ban branding
Facebook just launched a pair of smart glasses in collaboration with EssilorLuxottica and Ray-Ban called the Ray-Ban Stories. Facebook is certainly late to the game, as other tech giants have released similar or better-equipped products in the past, such as Snapchat’s Spectacles and Google’s Glass. However, the Ray-Ban Stories are designed to look more like regular glasses and certainly look the part, but the inconspicuous design and recording capabilities have many people rightly concerned with Facebook’s new product.
Facebook’s smart glasses have a built-in 5MP camera, microphone, and speakers. Photos and videos can be captured with a button, or they can be taken using a voice command to the Facebook Assistant. The glasses can record up to 30-seconds of footage at a time, which Facebook says will help you live in the moment, as you won’t need to take out your phone for quick snaps and videos.
A hard-wired LED will light up to let people know that you’re filming them, but the only way someone would know they’re being recorded is if they know to look for the tiny indicator light. Even so, there’s nothing stopping users from just… taping over the LED. Facebook told a reporter from Buzzfeed News that taping over the LED is a violation of the terms of services you agree to when buying the Ray-Ban Stories, but realistically, how would anyone at Facebook ever find out?
Facebook is making camera glasses. They have an LED warning light so that bystanders know you are taking a video.
I taped it over.
A FB exec told me this is a violation of the terms of service of the glasses (oops) https://t.co/l6JQy12vzE
— Katie Notopoulos (@katienotopoulos) September 9, 2021
Ray-Ban Stories pairs with the new Facebook View app on Android and iOS for sharing videos and photos. The Facebook View app works with both Facebook and non-Facebook apps, and you can also save content to your phone’s camera roll and edit and share from there.
Facebook says that the Ray-Ban Stories are available in 20 different total variations. You can pick from four Ray-Ban styles — Wayfarer, Wayfarer Large, Round, and Meteor — and five colors with a range of lenses that includes clear, sun, transition, and prescription. Prescription lenses will set you back a significantly higher amount, though. The Ray-Ban Stories start at $299, but they cost $509 with a single-vision prescription lens or $614 with a progressive prescription lens. You can buy them in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, and the UK from Ray-Ban’s website.
The Ray-Ban Stories have some cool ideas, but none that haven’t really been done before. They remind me of Google Glass from several years ago, though with a better execution more akin to the Snapchat Spectacles. Keep in mind that these glasses don’t do augmented reality and are solely a photo and video device. You’ll also need to turn them off when in use, as initial reports state that the battery life isn’t very good. Plus, you’re buying a Facebook product, with all of the potential privacy pitfalls that entails.