It is difficult to talk about Ray-Ban Stories, because what They represent is far more important than they are.
But first, let's talk about what they are. branding is… confusing, since the Ray-Ban Stories are neither normal Ray-Ban nor stories.u instead, it is a pair of connected glasses, the first from Facebook's augmented reality workshop :
Like a piece of technology, the glasses, which I have been playing with for the past few days, are a feat of engineering. They feel bigger than a normal pair of glasses, but with the exception of a few buttons and switches tucked across the top and those two cameras tucked into the fenders, it would be hard to say they didn't. weren't just a particularly odd fashion statement.
In use, the cameras are also neat. Still images are okay, but they're pale compared to what you can shoot with a half-decent smartphone, while the need to press a button orspeaking a commanded voice means they don't feel particularly comfortable either. really nice feeling.
This is of course not much different from the same experience I had with Snapchat Shows over four years ago . Facebook 's glasses are the same commodity as Snap's (not surprisingly, given the historical relationship between the two companies ), but updated with a nicer camera and a sophisticated voice assistant. This means that they also have the same basic issues as glasses: a limited set of circumstances under which they're actually better than just pulling out a phone camera, a delectable choice.cat about whether you're really going to be wearing the big glasses all day long just for the rare occasions you want to use them - and the need to explain to everyone you meet that you're not actually filming them.
Which is, of course, the real point of Ray-Ban Stories.
Increase the reality
Facebook is open to the goal of its
The Ray-Ban Stories are the first upcoming product from this team, "as we expect the technology to be good enough " to build the full AR experience, according to Monisha Perkash, who is in charge of the Facebook Reality Labs product team.
Unleash the Ray-Ban Stories to fill this gap serves a few purposes for Facebook. On the one hand, it allows them to form a relationship with Luxottica, the eyewear conglomerate that owns Ray-Ban, Sunglass Hut, Oakley and many more. Likewise, it allows the company to strengthen its product and manufacturing skills on the relatively easy task of camera glasses, before having to push the limits of what is possible in order to create real ones. AR glasses.
But it also serves another job: that of standardization. Although Facebook's glassesoare the same basic product as those of Snap, the differences are instructive. On the one hand, Wayfarers include a speaker and microphone, to give you more reasons to wear them throughout the day, not just when doing the kind of activity that might make photography hands-free useful. They won't appeal to any audiophile, but if the thought of listening to a podcast through your sunglasses while on the road to work appeals to you, then Stories will scratch that itch.
Likewise, where Snap's three generations of eyewear were, and are, garish designs, impossible to mistake for anything other than what they are, the Ray-Ban Stories look like to, well, a pair of Ray-Bans. Snap wants his smart glasses to scream "look at me, I'm cool, I'm wearing the Snapchat glasses"; Facebook doesn't want its smart glasses to scream at all.
That doesn't mean that smart glasses are a nosy person's dream. The cameras are quite prominent, and a wired LED that flashes when recording offers a lot more privacy than what you get, say, with a phone camera. In fact, the privacy protections are strong enough to slightly limit the actual effectiveness of the glasses: you can't really use them to record, say, a full bike ride, without pressing the shutter button every 30 seconds. .
But that's because, as much as they're a real consumer gimmick, glasses are also a Facebook PR push - one for the very concept of wearing a camera on your face, and interacting with other people wearing cameras on your face. Facebook really wants to avoid following Google Glass, whose users were infamously nicknamed" Glassholes , and impose an AR device on a world that is not ready for this.
There will be no threshold moment at which society will decide whether we want everyone in the world is constantly recording everything in front of them - or at least constantly applying AI to the device to make sense of it. We'll just get there with constant iterative updates of products like Ray-Ban Stories. And Facebook, which sees AR as its chance to finally own a platform and stop playing the second fiddle behind Apple and Google, desperately needs to take us all the way through. course.
For my part, I'm not going to help them get there. As a mainstream tech, I love Stories: I'm sure i will get nice picturesof my daughter who smiles at me through them. But I'm not comfortable wearing them in public, and I certainly don't want to put myself in the position of having to explain to a nervous stranger that in fact, it's OK that I am. point two cameras at them on the tube - when I'm not really sure that is the case.
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