- Facebook launched its first line of Ray-Ban smart glasses priced at $US299 ($AU406).
- Available in 20 styles, they can take photos and videos, play music, and place phone calls.
- See what they look like, what they can do, and how much they cost.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Facebook launched its “Ray-Ban Stories” smart glasses on Thursday, with 20 different style combinations starting at $US299 ($AU406).
The glasses have a miniature camera that can take photos and videos and send them directly to your phone. With small built-in speakers, they can also play music or take phone calls.
The new product is being marketed by Facebook as a new way to “share your adventures” so users can “stay present with friends, family, and the world around you.”
The social media giant is the latest tech company to take on smart glasses, a nascent market with a rocky past. In 2014, Google released “Google Glass” only to quickly discontinue the wearable tech after considerable criticism.
Two years later, Snap tried its hand at camera glasses with “Spectacles.” Despite early interest, the social media company eventually wrote off $US40 ($AU54) million in unsold products.
Facebook’s “Stories,” while capitalizing on Ray-Bans classic wayfarer design, have already brought up questions of privacy concerns.
Buzzfeed’s Katie Notopoulos reported that she experimented with using black tape to cover her smart glasses’ white camera light, which goes on when the glasses start to record. Alex Himel, VP of AR at Facebook Reality Labs, told her that the camera light was added specifically after the company consulted with privacy groups, and that tampering with the glasses was a violation of the product’s terms of service.
Facebook says on its website that the glasses were “designed with privacy in mind.” However, as The New York Times’ Ryan Mac pointed out, one of the company’s “independent” privacy experts works for the Future of Privacy Forum, an organization funded by Facebook itself.
The social media network created an entire micro-site dedicated to the glasses’ privacy guidelines.
Facebook has shown progress in growing its product base over time, starting with its low-selling Oculus Quest and Oculus Go headsets. The virtual reality devices eventually paved the way for the Oculus Quest, which Mark Zuckerberg has said is now outperforming expectations.
The smart glasses are now available online and in select retail stores in the US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy and the UK.