Last Thursday, Facebook and Ray-Ban’s smart glasses, Stories, went on sale for $299. The glasses include two front-facing cameras, which can record up to 30 videos and click 500 photos.
Once you install Facebook View on your phone, you will be given a series of prompts to connect Stories to your phone. The clips from the cameras will be saved on this app, from where they can be edited and shared to other apps such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and even Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok. You can also use Stories to make and attend phone calls and even listen to music.
Weighing just a few grams heavier than normal Wayfarers, the glasses feature a physical recording button near the right temple or you can simply say “Hey Facebook, take a picture/video” for hands-free control.
The glasses also have a three-microphone audio array for voice and sound transmission during phone calls and videos. Further, the glasses use Beamforming technology and a background noise suppression algorithm working to provide a smooth calling experience.
According to Facebook, the glasses take about an hour to charge completely and the battery suffices roughly six hours of intermittent usage. The companion Facebook View app shows the live battery readout when the glasses are paired.
It should be noted that Stories are not the first smart glasses of its kind: Google LLC and Snap Inc had released a similar range of smart glasses in 2016. The hype quickly fizzled out after privacy concerns were raised because of the technology used in them.
Reviewers have dubbed Ray-Ban’s Stories as a sleeker version of Snapchat’s Spectacles. However, Stories don’t have display lenses, unlike the latest Spectacles unveiled earlier this year.
Coming to the privacy front, Italy’s data protection authority sought clarifications from the social media giant on September 10 to assess whether the glasses are adhering to the existing privacy laws.
According to a report by Reuters, the Italian authority has raised concerns over the video recording feature, especially in case of filming children, as well as on systems adopted to make the data collection anonymous. In a blog post, Facebook said that it has weaved privacy directly into the product design and functionality from the very start.