“Facebook and Ray-Ban have partnered to launch new smart glasses.”
“What? Smart glasses?”
“Technology. Future. Sales.”
“Facebook and who?”
“I guess because they wanted someone with clout, brand respect and good design to offer credence to their new product?”
“What do the smart glasses do? Do they record people without them knowing?!”
This is largely the conversation I have had with many people since informing them of this [perhaps unexpected] new product drop. Smart glasses are quickly becoming the emerging tech product trend of 2021 and whilst brands have been working on them for years, some consumers simply aren’t mentally ready.
Let’s face the elephant in the room – Facebook isn’t exactly the most trusted brand in the world following privacy scandals in recent years (*cough* Cambridge Analytica *cough*). To say that many of our millennial, Gen Y, Gen Z and other readers wholeheartedly trust the brand isn’t truthful. The brand knows it, we know it, society knows it – people are smart, just like these glasses claim to be.
Like any technology product on today’s marketplace, privacy and data considerations are a matter of personal choice. We all have that one friend who doesn’t like to back-up things into the cloud because of data considerations, whilst others couldn’t care less.
Today, we’re just talking product features and product claims. Here’s what the product says it can do, summarised in our signature fashion. (AESTOLOGYY will be publishing its review of the new Ray-Ban Stories in coming weeks).
Starting from A$449 or US$299 – 20 different styles available.
Release date – where can I buy?
From 10 September in Australia, available to purchase online and in select retail stores globally (e.g. Sunglass Hut and OPSM in Australia).
What do the Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses do?
Capture photos and videos, help you listen to music, take phone calls and more whilst seamlessly engaging with the world around you.
(Fun fact) – You’ll be able to get prescription lenses!
1. Does it record photos/videos without people knowing?
The developers have included LED capture lights which turn on when the cameras are on and photography/recording is taking place – it’s there to alert people nearby.
Users also have the choice to choose between automatic or custom uploads to the companion Facebook View app, available on both Apple and Android. (Read here for more info).
There’s also hardware protections like a power switch to turn off the camera and microphones.
The use of Facebook Assistant for voice command-powered capture is also totally optional. Users can view and delete their voice transcripts, and have the option of turning off voice storage and/or Facebook Assistant in Settings.
2. What data does it collect?
Ooft, you’re getting into meaty question territory here.
Here’s what the company says:
By default, Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses collect data that’s needed to make your glasses work and function, like your battery status to alert you when your battery is low, your email address and password for your Facebook login to verify it’s really you when you log into the Facebook View app, and your Wi-Fi connectivity. You can opt-in to share additional data — which includes things like the number of images you captured or how long you spend taking videos — with Facebook for product development, improvement, and personalisation. This setting can be changed at any time.
3. What’s the deal with ads?
The Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses and Facebook View are ads-free experiences, so users won’t see ads when using the glasses or app. The company says it doesn’t use the content of a user’s photos and videos for personalised ads.
Facebook and Ray-Ban also say photos and videos are encrypted on the smart glasses. The glasses can only be paired with one account at a time, so if you lose your Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses and someone tries to pair them with a new phone and Facebook account, any data and media left on the glasses will be automatically deleted.
What’s Zuckerberg’s thoughts on the product?
Read his entire blog post here. He’s very excited.
4. Camera and mic specs?
Built-in 5MP cameras and a 3-microphone array. If you choose to, you can ask Facebook Assistant to help hands-free, “Hey Facebook, take a photo/video.” Video length is capped at 30 seconds if you go the later.
5. How can I listen to music with glasses?
The Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses feature integrated open-ear audio and microphones to listen to music, podcasts and more. They project audio directly towards the ear in a discrete way. You may not know it, but this isn’t exactly new tech!
The mics and speakers also let you take calls.
6. (Bonus question) What’s next for these?
More immersive augmented reality functions.
I want to watch a video of this product in action.
No worries, we’ve got you – here you go.
What do YOU think?
We’ll have a review on the new Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses up in a couple of weeks. We like to be thorough and will gather a range of perspectives.