LifeLog 2.0.? Facebook summons the ghost of Google Glass with Ray-Ban ‘smart glasses’ capable of stealthily recording uninitiated
Social media giant Facebook is breathing new life into the cringiest accessory of the ‘00s – Google Glass – joining forces with sunglasses powerhouse Ray-Ban to unleash a pair of “smart” glasses that can record your every move.
The first product of a reported multi-year device partnership with Facebook, Ray-Ban ‘Stories’ sunglasses are almost indistinguishable from normal eyewear – except they sync up with a companion app called Facebook View on the user’s phone and require a Facebook account to use, according to Alex Heath, who tested them for The Verge. As of Thursday, the $299 glasses will be ubiquitous, on sale at all sunglasses stores that stock Ray-Bans.
In addition to two forward-facing cameras for taking photos and video, the glasses contain dual Bluetooth speakers – all the better to record your phone calls with – and boast a six-hour battery life with a USB-C charger. According to Heath, the image quality pales in comparison to normal smartphones, making the glasses more useful for unobtrusive, spur-of-the-moment, or hands-free image capturing. The accompanying app allows basic editing of clips and photos, with the capability to share the content with other apps (apparently not just Facebook).
Unlike their ill-fated ancestors Google Glass, whose distinctive look made it immediately clear when an individual was wearing them (and possibly recording their surroundings), Stories look and feel almost exactly like Ray-Ban’s blockbuster Wayfarer style, according to Heath. According to The Verge, the tiny white recording light on the edge of the lens is so “dim” that it “could pose privacy concerns if people don’t realize the glasses are capturing photos or video.”
Like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, or Google Home, Ray-Ban Stories are activated with a ‘wake phrase’ – “Hey Facebook,” in this case – and also sport a physical button on one side of the glasses frame that would come in handy for those who don’t want to let the whole room know they’re being recorded. It remains to be seen if, also like Alexa, Siri, and Google Home, the glasses are capable of activating themselves during intimate moments due to “mishearing” the wake phrase, or whether Facebook content monitors will also be listening in to tune the glasses’ voice recognition, as was the excuse when Amazon, Apple, and Google were caught with their hands in the data cookie jar.