Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and EssilorLuxottica (EPA: EL) have partnered to launch Ray-Ban Stories. These are pioneering smart glasses that allow you to be online while engaging with real-world friends and acquaintances.
Photographer: Heshan Perera | Source: Unsplash
At its recent Q2 earnings call, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg animatedly talked about his vision for the future. A Facebook originated metaverse where we live fully immersed in the online world.
And now, in partnership with the global market leader in eyewear, Facebook is taking another step towards that goal.
The glasses pair with the Facebook View app so stories and snaps can be effortlessly shared with friends and social media followers instantly.
What do Ray-Ban Stories cost?
Ray-Ban Stories are smart glasses capturing photos and video in real-time, with less grip on your attention and time than smartphones.
They cost upwards of $299 and are being launched globally in the US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, and the UK.
Ray-Ban Stories will be sold online and in select retail outlets in a variety of 20 style combinations. These include five colors and classic Ray-Ban designs such as Wayfarer, Wayfarer Large, Round, and Meteor. They also come in a range of lenses; clear, sun, transition, and prescription.
The smart glasses are dual integrated with 5MP cameras, which take quality photographs from a first-person perspective. Images can be captured by voice or capture button.
An LED light notifies people nearby that you’re taking a photo or video.
Ray-Ban Stories also have open-ear speakers built-in to listen to music and audiobooks or make calls.
Cool or creepy?
Facebook is not the first to come up with smart glasses. Both Google (Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL)) and Snap (NASDAQ: SNAP) have attempted it before.
Ray-Ban regularly tops the fashion charts for cool eyewear, giving the Facebook collab more street cred than its predecessors.
But there’s something inherently creepy about being able to photograph and film everyone around you, possibly without them knowing. It’s not just voyeuristic; it’s potentially highly dangerous.
Whether they’ll be a money-spinner for Facebook remains to be seen.
The wonderful world of NFTs
Facebook likes to be at the cutting edge of new tech while simultaneously gathering data on an immense scale.
Seeing another opportunity for both, Facebook has jumped in on the NFT craze sweeping the retail investor scene this year.
NFT stands for non-fungible token, which is a piece of digital art.
The crazy world of decentralized finance (DeFi) birthed NFTs. And their adoption has ballooned from a small corner of the crypto world to mainstream retail.
Curating a collection of digital art is fun, sociable, and highly addictive.
Furthermore, these JPGs are trading for huge sums of money. And where Facebook spots an opportunity to profit (or gather data), it jumps on board.
Will Facebook take NFTs mainstream?
Last month Facebook announced plans to build products and features related to NFTs.
Facebook Executive David Marcus told Bloomberg:
“We’re definitely looking at the number of ways to get involved in the space because we think we’re in a really good position to do so,”
The company has a cryptocurrency in the pipeline and is building its Novi wallet, which is expected to have NFT features built-in.
It originally planned to launch a crypto called Libra, but after much backlash, it dropped this. It created a separate company called Diem and plans to launch the Diem stablecoin along with its Novi wallet.
Facebook’s Novi wallet is likely to offer various financial products, from crypto and digital assets to loans.
A move into NFTs seems a natural one for the social media giant. Its entire ecosystem is built on individual social interactions, building friendships and communities. It has over 2.9bn users, and many of them will revel in sharing their digital art collections with their friends and family.
If Facebook does roll this out, it could raise the presence and profile of NFTs very quickly.