Facebook introduces cool Ray-Ban smart glasses

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • Facebook has launched its first “smart glasses” in partnership with Ray-Ban.
  • Called Ray-Ban Stories, the wayfarers come with a pair of cameras for both photos and videos, a microphone and speaker, and a voice assistant for hands-free commands.
  • The smart glasses are going on sale for $299. 

Facebook announced Thursday that it is launching Ray-Ban Stories, a line of glasses in partnership with EssilorLuxottica that allow people to take calls, listen to music and capture videos and photos to post online. Literally, it’s Facebook on your face.

In 2016, Snapchat’s Spectacles were released while Google’s Glass was launched in 2013.

In recent years, Facebook said that the future of social media will be about crossing barriers between real life and the internet. Virtual reality is being promoted by none other than CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself.

Ray-Ban Stories may not have virtual reality capability, but they aim to reduce those barriers. 

Matthew Simari, director of product at Facebook’s Reality Labs said “Our goal is really about helping people stay more present and connected.”

The glasses went on sale Thursday at $2.99. They feature dual integrated 5-megapixel cameras, speakers on each side that can be used as open-air headphones, a capture button, a touchpad, a power button and a trio of microphones. It’s possible to take photos and up to 30-second videos using the capture button or hands-free through Facebook Assistant voice commands.

Simari added the hands-free technology feature, in addition to high-contrast frame colors and an LED light that turns on when the camera is activated, is “really critical to giving the people around you agency to understand what’s happening and be as in control as you are in that situation.”

But how about privacy, trust, and transparency?

Simari emphasized that “the data that Facebook collects is really about just making sure that the glasses are functioning properly.”

Data being gathered include information like errors and crashes, log-in information and battery status. Users will have the option to opt in or out of additional sharing for other data during the initial setup.

Ray-Ban Stories users can share the content they capture to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, TikTok and Snapchat. The gadget has Bluetooth technology for calls or listening to music or podcasts.

The glasses are available in three styles — Wayfarer, Meteor, and Round — and come with a portable charging case. It weighs only 5 grams more than a regular pair of Wayfarers.

“We are not building technology that just happens to look like glasses. We’re building glasses that happen to have technology,” Simari said.

Source: NBC News

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