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Facebook and Ray-Ban Release Smart Glasses

The new smart glasses from Facebook and Ray-Ban
The new smart glasses from Facebook and Ray-Ban. Courtesy

The companies debuted the product, called Ray-Ban Stories, on Thursday. It retails for $299 and is for sale at both Ray-Ban stores and on its website. The product is available in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland and Italy. 

Ray-Ban Stories can capture photos and videos, play music, make phone calls, and fulfil hands-free commands when wearers say “Hey, Facebook.” Images and videos are sent to a new app, Facebook View, where users can store their content. The product is charged via a glasses case that’s plugged into the wall. The smart glasses come in three classic style frames from Ray-Ban — Wayfarer, Round or Meteor — and shoppers can choose different lens colours too (transition and prescription lens glasses are available at a higher price point).

Ray-Ban Stories look, remarkably, like the regular glasses the EssilorLuxottica-owned company make, but the camera “shines a white light when you’re taking photos or videos to notify people nearby,” the company noted in a release. This feature, the company said, was designed with “privacy in mind” (Facebook has been the subject of much criticism for how it handles its users’ personal data). 

Facebook is the latest company to take a crack at smart glasses. Google launched its Google Glass back in 2013, but the product and its steep price point of $1,500 never quite took off. Snapchat debuted its Spectacles in 2016, but the product didn’t catch on with consumers either (Snap reportedly lost $40 million on unsold glasses in 2017).

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