Facebook and Ray-Ban would love you to be excited about Ray-Ban Stories.
They are sunglasses with a smattering of unimpressive technology features.
Facebook’s marketing calls them smart-glasses.
Which is brave considering they are not even as smart as the now abandoned Google Glass.
In effect, it is a pair of cameras, linked to your phone by Bluetooth, and carefully disguised in normal-looking sunglasses.
That’s about it.
The new Ray-Ban glasses have two cameras to capture video or photos. These sync with an app called Facebook View.
You can fire up the camera by hitting a physical button or say: “Hey Facebook, take a video”.
While there is no display in the lens, there are Bluetooth speakers on the frame. This lets you play sound from your phone or make and receive calls. There is a physical volume control and a pause button.
Indicators let you know the device is charged or needs a charge.
A tiny white lamp illuminates what you are filming or capturing. It serves a double purpose. The idea is that when the light is on, people know they are being filmed.
Privacy dead zone
It’s a stretch to accept that everyone who sees the white light will know what it means. But then privacy and respect for people has never been a Facebook virtue.
Nick Heer suggests you can cover the light with tape for secret filming. He goes on to explain that this violates the terms of service. As if that means anything.
There’s something nasty about a product which, while pretending to be a smart device, is a voyeur’s wet dream.
Facebook might tell you the glasses make it easy to record precious family moments. It’s unlikely the company’s marketing will warn you the glasses make it easy for creeps to record your family.
It didn’t take long for those wise to Google Glass to label the creeps wearing that device to coin the term glassholes. If the Facebook product takes off we may see that name return.
Google Glass was not a success. If anything it did the company’s reputation more harm than good. For many people, Facebook’s reputation is already in the gutter. Seeding a new generation of glassholes isn’t going to fix that.