In 2013, Google released its first stab at the future of wearable technology: Google Glass. The prototype smart glasses were subject to a massive public outrage over privacy issues. Seven years later, tech giant Facebook is trying a very similar product with Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses.
What are Facebook smart glasses?
Revealed yesterday, Ray-Ban Stories are smart glasses designed to take photos and videos. The spectacles are designed to look just like a regular pair of Ray-Ban glasses with almost unperceivable cameras.
Ray-Ban Stories take pictures or videos by pressing a button on top of the frames. Additionally, the user can say, “Hey Facebook, take a video” to start a recording. Paired with a mobile app called Facebook View, the glasses will store your content, allowing you to edit and share them anywhere.
The glasses don't have much on-board memory. A report by The Verge states that the device can store “three dozen, 30-second video clips or roughly 500 photos before the on-device memory fills up”. Additionally, the device only has about six hours of battery.
Are there privacy issues?
Facebook’s Ray-Ban Stories do improve upon the issues of Google Glass. For starters, Facebook View can not be used to secretly start a recording without voice or physical input. Secondly, there is a light that turns on when the glasses are recording. However, that light is incredibly small.
In an article by Buzzfeed, writer Katie Notopoulos covered the glasses’ LED light with masking tape and black sharpie. Notopoulos notes that the LED was covered up perfectly with no light leakage through the coloured-in tape. When asked about this, Facebook simply said that doing what Notopoulos did is a violation of the glasses’ terms of service.
Of course, as Notopoulos also notes, Facebook isn't the only company. Amazon and even Scholastic book fairs are filled with cheap Spy Glasses. However, the difference is that Ray-Ban Stories simply look like Ray-Bans instead of its unwieldy, thick competitors.