Facebook Launches Ray-Ban Branded Smart Glasses — Will Privacy Concerns Hinder Success?

Christmas shopping at the Bonaire shopping center in Valencia, Spain - 26 Dec 2020
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Facebook announced the launch of its Ray-Ban branded smart glasses today, which enable users “to capture photos and video, share [adventures] and listen to music or take phone calls,” according to a statement.

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Deemed Ray-Ban Stories, these smart glasses, built in partnership with EssilorLuxottica, will start selling at $299 and be available in the U.S., as well as Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy and the UK, the company said.

Facebook said that the glasses pair with the new Facebook View app, enabling wearers to share stories and memories on social media. The app on iOS and Android also enables users to import, edit and share content captured on the smart glasses to apps on phones, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat.

The glasses integrated 5MP cameras enable users to take photos and up to 30-second videos using the capture button or hands-free with Facebook Assistant voice commands, according to the statement.

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“A hard-wired capture LED lights up to let people nearby know when you’re taking a photo or video,” the company said in the statement.

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“From the start, we designed Ray-Ban Stories with privacy in mind, adding numerous built-in features to provide control and peace of mind to both device owners and bystanders. More information on these features, as well as our new guidelines for responsible use, can be found on the Ray-Ban Stories privacy microsite,” the company said in the statement.

Jeremy Greenberg, policy counsel at the Future of Privacy Forum and one of the people Facebook spoke with while developing Ray-Ban Stories, told CNN that there’s “definitely some concerns” surrounding people didn’t not noticing users who are capturing pictures and videos — something that is more obvious when you pull out a phone.

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“It’ll be interesting to see, if this technology becomes widespread, will folks sort of develop that cultural understanding that their image might be taken, video might be taken?” he told CNN. “It’s really ‘time will tell.'”

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Last updated: September 10, 2021

About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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