How will Meta convince you to buy its next Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses after a reported 90 percent of buyers abandoned them after purchase? Meta has a plan! The second-gen glasses will let you livestream video to viewers who can talk back to you.
Tech journalist Janko Roettgers says he’s seen internal documents that show the second-gen Ray-Ban Stories will not only let you stream video directly to Facebook and Instagram but also let viewers whisper in your ear.
“Live streamers will be able to directly communicate with their audience, with the glasses relaying comments via audio over the built-in headphones,” Roettgers writes at Lowpass. The device should also have “improved battery life and better cameras” — that’s a quote from Meta’s document, not Roettgers — to support that livestreaming.
How could Meta possibly figure out which comments out of a mountain of comments should be spoken in your ear? I suspect there’s more to it than that. Just grossly speculating for a moment, perhaps it’s something influencers would grant to particular paid subscribers or comments approved by a manager watching the stream.
The new glasses will also reportedly raise the audio playback volume when your surroundings are too noisy by monitoring the ambient noise level and will somehow attempt to keep users from taking photos or videos if they’ve tampered with the device’s “hey FYI, I am recording you” LED indicator.
If Meta does add a live video streaming feature to its smart glasses, it’s likely to spark some controversy. The Ray-Ban Stories are among the most glasses-like camera glasses on the market (thanks in no small part to a partnership with glasses giant EssilorLuxottica), so it’s not immediately obvious they can record.
It might empower people to livestream things that they perhaps shouldn’t — even without smart glasses, we’ve already seen a number of horrific shootings broadcast to the world.
We’ve known for some time that Meta was working on future glasses: my colleague Alex Heath scooped the company’s entire VR / AR roadmap, including that the second generation of Ray-Ban Stories was due out this fall. A third-gen version in 2025 should add at least a small display, currently dubbed the “viewfinder,” to let users see incoming text messages and translate text a la Google’s reportedly killed Project Iris augmented reality glasses. Meta’s first true AR glasses, codenamed Orion, aren’t slated to be released until 2027.