Pile of 3D Facebook Logos

Featured photo: natanaelginting

By: Nick Gambino

Facebook’s relationship with privacy has been strained at best. Despite their more than 2 billion users, they’re not high on the public trust scale for reasons seemingly not important enough to keep every single one of us from logging on to Facebook at least once a day.

After Google failed to bring smart glasses to the masses, Mark Zuckerberg is teaming up with Ray-Ban to bring us Stories. Touted as “the new way to capture, share and listen,” Ray-Ban Stories are essentially glasses or sunglasses fitted with cameras that allow you to snap photos and record videos.

While Google Glass looked kind of dorky (yes, we’re still using that word), a partnership with Ray-Ban means these new smart sunglasses we’re going to at least look cool. The sunglasses version of Stories looks much like the Wayfarers I put on every day except there are two tiny cameras in the top right and top left, visible to anyone who looks closely.

The 5MP cameras take high-res photos and HD videos and even adjust according to the light around you. If you’re expecting quality on par with your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy smartphone, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you’re just looking for easy snaps without the use of your hands, then Stories is right up your alley.

The photos and videos you capture export to a special app on your phone called View. That’s where you’ll be able to then download to your phone’s camera roll or share with anyone right from the app.

To mitigate the use of Stories by anyone determined to be a creep, they’ve designed the cameras with a little red LED light that indicates that the glasses are recording. That means we shouldn’t see too much in the way of nonconsensual videoing, at least without us knowing about it, right?

Well, how often do you really look closely at someone’s sunglasses? And how many of us have eyes in the back of our heads? So, there are definitely situations where someone can video or take photos of us without us realizing it.

The stems also sport their own built-in speakers. Because the glasses are connected to your phone, they include the ability to listen to, pause, and play your music and even control the volume. Think of this feature as Bluetooth headphones.

From a practical standpoint, Stories is a great way to record media hands-free and see the results instantly on your Bluetooth-connected phone, but because of its connection with the social media giant they’ve included the use of Facebook Assistant and so we can expect this to raise privacy concerns. The View app does require a Facebook account to log in, but apparently, it’s not actually connected to the account and so Facebook cannot view your media.

I hope this is true. In the meantime, we’ll keep a vigilant eye on these new glasses.