Facebook and Ray-Ban release smart glasses, Ray Ban Stories

Photo Illustration by Claire Grimes | The Banner

The wave of smart technology is here. What began as smartphones has spread to smartwatches, smart speakers, smart home devices and now, as of Sept. 8, we have smartglasses.

Facebook has partnered with Ray-Ban to release smart glasses in a new line called Ray-Ban Stories.

These glasses, which come as sunglasses or reading glasses, have the ability to take pictures, record videos, play music and answer phone calls. However, the user must have a Facebook account that is linked to the glasses and the glasses have to be connected to an Apple or Android device through Bluetooth.

As innovative as this new technology is, many are unsure about whether or not the glasses will be a success. Safety concerns are among the biggest issues critics have with the glasses.

Abigail Kearney, freshman biochemistry major, said she is worried that these devices could make certain illegal activities and invasion of personal privacy easier.

“With the glasses, you could record people or take pictures without their knowledge,” Kearney said. “It’s even more discreet than if you were using a cellphone or camera.”

Despite this concern, Kearney said she thinks people will try them out.

“I feel like they will be popular because they are the newest thing,” Kearney said. “The concept of all the things we used to do with a cellphone being done with glasses is cool. It’s exciting to people.”

Ofaloto Pinomi, freshman kinesiology major, said she will not be wearing the sunglasses any time soon.

“I just think the idea of the glasses is odd,” Pinomi said. “I don’t want my sunglasses to be complicated in the way that they have to be Bluetooth connected to something and need Wi-Fi. I just want to wear my sunglasses to shield my eyes from the sun. I, and most people, already have a phone to do all the other things, like making calls.”

Dr. Effat Zeidan, assistant professor of general education, said it could be popular with certain generations for remaining connected to online tasks.

“I see value to this new technology as it appeals to those looking for ways to enhance their effectiveness in their digital tasks, and I can see that it will kick off well for millennials as one of its primary markets,” Zeidan said.

Zeidan points out that the glasses may not compare with smartwatches, though.

“I do not think the glasses will take off the same as that for the smartwatches for the main reason of privacy concern,” Zeidan said. “No one would be able to recognize the recording capabilities unless examining the glasses closely.”

“These glasses can be utilized to invade the privacy of others because they don’t necessarily notice that you are snapping a photo of them without their consent.”

“Not to forget, there are also questions regarding the data collected through the Facebook app as a privacy concern for the user. Digital data is automatically uploaded to the Facebook database, and this raises a concern about where these digital images can end up on the web.”

The Facebook Ray Ban Stories smartglasses are not the first time advanced glasses have tried to enter the marketplace. In 2014, Google created Google Glass, eyeglasses that were marketed as a “hands-free smartphone.”

However, Google Glass was discontinued only a year later after a lack of sales. This marketplace failure could be attributed to many factors, including that many found the aesthetic appeal of the glasses lacking. 

It seems that Ray-Ban Stories took this factor into consideration, as the new glasses appear to look like normal Ray Bans, adding to the secret-recording skepticism.

Hopefully, Ray-Ban Stories is not met with a fate similar to Google Glass in 2015.

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