Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, is putting the “Ray-Ban Stories” on sale in the Spanish market this Thursday, the glasses with cameras and microphones that the multinational has created in collaboration with the manufacturer EssilorLuxottica. These are smart glasses that allow the person who wears them to record everything that happens around them and publish it instantly on social networks. Although they bear the name of the Italian firm, it has been Meta who has led their development.
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“With the dual 5-megapixel cameras built into the Ray-Ban Stories, you can take photos and videos hands-free, using your voice, or with the capture button built into the glasses,” explains Meta. Voice commands are available in English, French, and Italian, but not Spanish. “The glasses also incorporate open speakers, as well as three microphones that offer high-quality voice and sound transmission for calls and videos,” adds the multinational.
For the people around you, the only indicator that the device is recording is a small white LED light placed on the front right of the mount, which lights up when the camera is connected. On the inside of the glasses there is another LED that lets the owner know that the recording is activated. Inside there is also a button to turn the entire device on and off, which will make it not respond to voice commands or button presses.
In a meeting with journalists, Ankit Brahmbhatt, head of development for Ray-Ban Stories, explained that Meta’s priority with this device has been “design”. The objective is that they resemble conventional glasses as much as possible, which is why the social media corporation has agreed with EssilorLuxottica. However, he has acknowledged that this also poses “the challenge” that the device does not become a tool to spy on other people.
Brahmbhatt has stated that Meta has been “in contact with organizations and experts in privacy, security and civil liberties” in the development stage and since the glasses went on the market in September in the markets of the US, UK, Canada, Italy, Ireland and Australia. “We’ve tried to get as much feedback as possible so we can pour it into the product and the way we educate consumers,” she said.
However, the multinational has not responded to all requests to increase product safety. As revealed by the Wall Street Journal, one of the consumer associations consulted asked the multinational to install a sensor to detect if the owner covers the LED that warns that the glasses are recording and to disconnect the camera if this happens. Meta refused to do so.
Do not use your glasses to carry out harmful activities such as harassment, privacy violations or the capture of sensitive information such as PIN codes
Meta advice to users of Ray-Ban Stories
“Next April a marketing campaign will be launched in many of the EU markets to educate people about the devices. wearables and smart glasses, explaining how they work”, Brahmbhatt has advanced. “We want people to be more aware that other people are using their smart glasses, such as their cameras or other capabilities.”
On the Ray-Ban Stories website, Meta gives advice such as: “Turn off your glasses in certain spaces such as the doctor’s office, locker rooms, public bathrooms, schools or places of worship”; “Show others how the capture LED works so they know when it’s recording. Tampering with this light is against our terms of service” or “Don’t break the law. Do not use your glasses to carry out harmful activities such as harassment, violation of privacy rights or the capture of sensitive information such as PIN codes.
The corporation did agree to other recommendations from consumer organizations, such as preventing images and videos taken by Ray-Ban Stories from being uploaded directly to Meta’s servers if the user does not actively select it. The default option is that these files are sent to the “Facebook View” app that must be installed on the phone and connected to the glasses via bluetooth. This material is stored locally on the phone and the social network ensures that it does not have access to it if the user decides not to publish it.
The Ray-Ban Stories will be available from this Wednesday both online and in some “selected stores”, exposes Meta. There are several models and types of crystals, including graduated ones. Its price is 350 euros.