Why I Want Facebook’s New Smart Glasses

They don’t look ridiculous

Key Takeaways

  • I’m looking forward to trying out the new Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses. 
  • The $299 frames have two-front facing cameras for capturing video and photos. 
  • I love the idea of getting music and phone calls piped in through my glasses.
Someone wearing the new Ray-Ban Smart Glasses next to two closeups on those same glasses.

Ray-Ban

I admit to being one of those people who wanted the much-maligned Google Glass smart eyewear. 

The Google Glass project went down in flames, but Facebook is reviving the idea with its first pair of smart glasses made in partnership with Ray-Ban, called Ray-Ban Stories. I’m hoping to snag the Stories, and I have high hopes that I won’t even look like a "glasshole."

The new Stories are currently available for $299.  The frames have two-front facing cameras for capturing video and photos. There’s a physical button on the glasses for recording, or you can say, "Hey Facebook, take a video" to control them hands-free.

"The best part of the new Stories is that they don’t look like smart glasses."

Smart Specs

The best part of the new Stories is that they don’t look like smart glasses. They resemble a typical pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses if you can ignore the camera lenses on either side of the frames. 

Ray-Ban Stories’ dual integrated 5MP cameras are intended to let you capture daily events as they happen from a first-person perspective. You can record the world as you see it, taking photos and up to 30-second videos using the capture button or hands-free with Facebook Assistant voice commands. 

Google’s Glass was widely panned for being a potential privacy problem. In a nod to the privacy dilemma, the Ray-Ban Stories have a hard-wired capture LED that lights up to let people nearby know when you’re taking a photo or video. 

The Stories also act as open-air headphones. Streamlined, open-ear speakers are built-in, and Ray-Ban Stories’ three-microphone audio array supposedly delivers richer voice and sound transmission for calls and videos. The company says that beamforming technology and a background noise suppression algorithm provide an enhanced calling experience, as you’d expect from dedicated headphones. 

Of course, since Facebook makes the Stories, they are all about sharing your life. Ray-Ban Stories pairs with the new Facebook View app, so you can share your point of view, stories, and memories with friends and social media followers. 

The Facebook View app on iOS and Android lets you import, edit, and share content captured on the smart glasses to apps on your phone: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, and more. You also can save content to your phone’s camera roll and edit and share from there. 

My New Look?

I don’t wear sunglasses very often, but I might make an exception for the Stories. I’m a sucker for anything that feeds me more information, and smart glasses seem like the natural next step from the constant pinging of my iPhone 12 Pro Max and Apple Watch Series 6. 

I love the idea of getting music and phone calls piped in through my glasses. Open-air headphones could also be a safety feature. I’ve had a few close calls nearly getting hit by cars on the busy New York City streets while listening to my AirPods Pro. The possibility of having important sounds trickle past music or phone conversations is appealing. 

Product view of Ray-Ban Stories glasses.

Ray-Ban

However, I’m not entirely sold on the photo feature of the Stories. I could see situations where having cameras in my glasses would be helpful. For example, I often take a picture of my car when I park it, so I don’t forget where I left it. Quick bookmarks in the form of photos would be helpful for situations like this. 

On the other hand, the idea of snapping photos with my glasses in social situations seems downright bizarre and intrusive. Say, I’m with friends, and I just quietly start recording our conversation. The LED lights up on the Stories, and everyone in the vicinity suddenly realizes they are on camera. I can think of precisely zero situations where this would be appropriate or fun. 

But issues like privacy and appropriate video taking don’t dim my delight for the sheer James Bond-like wizardry promised by the Ray-Ban Stories. I just hope no one realizes I’m wearing smart glasses.

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