The first product born from the collaboration between the American social media giant and the Italian-French eyewear one makes its debut
Here they are. THE Ray-Ban Stories mark the entrance of the US Facebook and Italian-French EssilorLuxottica, parent company of Ray-Ban, in the sour market of smart glasses. Without augmented reality, for now.
Announced Thursday 9 September by the CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg and the chief wearables officer of EssilorLuxottica Rocco Basilico
, the Ray-Ban Stories are the first fruit of the multi-year collaboration between the two giants that dominate the social networking and eyewear sectors, globally.
The first fruit is a first step. The Stories debut without overdoing it from a technological point of view focusing on a design that almost perfectly follows that of various traditional Ray-Ban models and on a few, simple and already seen functions: you can photo and turn video from 30 seconds maximum, listen to the music e talk on the phone. Without having to hold the smartphone. End.
Equipped with a processor Snapdragon, communicate with the smartphone using Bluetooth and they have one battery which promises moderate use up to six hours (recharges with the case and takes 70 minutes to reach 100%). To download on your smartphone, and then possibly share on social networks, photos and videos there is the app Facebook View per Android e iOs, which connects to the Facebook profile. To ask the glasses to take a photo or shoot a video, you can use the appropriate manual command or say the phrases Facebook take a photo and Facebook take a video, for now only in English.
As mentioned, for now Facebook and EssilorLuxottica are giving up responding to Snapchat, which presented the Spectacles with augmented reality in May (the superimposition of digital elements on the surrounding ones), and to anticipate Apple, which is preparing an Ar / Vr viewer.
We are already working on augmented reality, I don’t see it as a short-term goal, but as part of our business, Rocco Basilico told Courier service .
The technical challenges for augmented reality are formidable, but also very difficult. For some we don’t even have laboratory tests that make us believe that we will solve them in the next ten years, he explained to Courier service
Andrew Bosworth, the vice president of Facebook Reality Labs, pointing out that the second and most important part of the problem: how do we make sure that people are comfortable with that technology and are willing to integrate it into their lives? I think the social challenges are more difficult than the technical ones: we don’t want to introduce a new technology as soon as it is available, we have to do it incrementally. Microphones, cameras, music and voice calls are things we understand and that glasses do better and faster than smartphones.
Therefore, caution. Also because for a company with Facebook’s reputation on the subject of privacy try to place us two 5 megapixel lenses e three microphones on the nose aboard a frame that weighs only 5 grams more than the iconic Wayfarer, and is a candidate to accompany us for most of the day, already a great bet. Not to mention a gamble.
Not for Basil, which al Courier service says: We have done a good job with privacy experts and we have a partner (Facebook, ed.) among the best in this field. In the glasses there is a LED: if I register, you see it immediately. With the smartphone it is not so clear.
For now the Facial recognition however, it was shelved: the glasses, assures Facebook, are not able to identify people’s faces. Same goes for the Facebook View app. Bosworth he does not rule out that things may change in the future but says he does not believe it is Facebook’s responsibility to evaluate the benefits and harms of introducing facial analysis technology. It is useful to remember that on the social network facial recognition is active, but opt-in: you have to join.
Returning to glasses, which are designed for those who have at least 13 years old: to make sure that the microphones and lenses are turned off you have to rely on the on and off button (some will remember that the Portal screen debuted with a plastic closure). Then: those in front of us, and particularly attentive, realize that we are photographing and recording thanks to a small LED (smaller than that of Snapchat’s 2016 Spectacles).
And give: Facebook ensures that it only sends information to its servers to verify that the glasses are working, such as login credentials to the social network, the status of wifi and Bluetooth connectivity and the battery or errors and crashes of the device. Photos and videos captured with Stories are sent to servers only if the user decides to post them on one of the Menlo Park apps.
L’voice assistant – the one to turn to by saying Hey Facebook – keeps the transcripts of interactions, unless you decide to deactivate the archiving or delete them, for three years. Other data, always related to the voice assistant, which Facebook defines as very limited system health are kept for 30 days and then deleted. As mentioned, the glasses should only react to the Hey Facebook command. If not (and scrolling through our transcripts we saw that it can happen) Facebook says to label these interactions as false alarms and delete them after 90 days. Another Menlo Park promise: Voice interactions aren’t used to target advertising. We recommend that you carefully read the Facebook View settings and limit the collection of data according to your needs and the possibilities offered by the system.
: the contents, therefore photos and videos, are encrypted on the device (with an Android system), so as to avoid unwanted access in case of theft or loss.
The Ray-Ban Stories are on sale from 9 September in Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and Canada. It starts from 329 euros, to go up according to the model or lenses.
Compared to the attempts already made in the past, starting with the prematurely set aside Google Glass, and to connected or smart glasses that have already timidly entered the market, from the Echo Frames of Amazon to the Huawei X Gentle Monster, the Ray-Bans Stories have the advantage of combining and making some of the solutions already seen elsewhere work on real eyewear. Are they needed? No. Can they be useful and fun? Yes, especially for the audio, even if the assistant’s activity is very limited (after a poor week of testing, one would ask him more) and we must be ready to put ourselves and those around us in a new and further spiral of sharing. .