FACEBOOK Inc launched its first smart glasses on Thursday, in a step toward its aim of offering true augmented-reality spectacles. Picture: Matt Rourke AP
FACEBOOK Inc launched its first smart glasses on Thursday, in a step toward its aim of offering true augmented-reality spectacles. Picture: Matt Rourke AP

Facebook unveils its first smart glasses

By Reuters Time of article published Sep 9, 2021

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Facebook Inc launched its first smart glasses on Thursday, in a step toward its aim of offering true augmented-reality spectacles.

The glasses, which were created in partnership with Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica, allows wearers to listen to music, take calls, or capture photos and short videos, and share them across Facebook's services, using a companion app. Facebook said the glasses line, called “Ray-Ban Stories”, would start at $299.

The social media giant, which reported revenue of about $86 billion in 2020, makes most of its money from advertising, but has invested heavily in virtual and augmented reality – developing hardware such as its Oculus VR headsets and working on wristband technologies to support augmented reality glasses.

Facebook's chief scientist said last year the company was five to 10 years away from being able to bring to market “true” AR glasses, which would superimpose virtual objects onto the wearer's view of the real world.

Major tech firms, including Amazon Inc, Alphabet Inc's Google, Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc, and Snap Inc, have raced to develop various smart glasses products, but early offerings like Google Glass proved difficult to sell to consumers, who were put off by high price points and design issues.

Snap, which unveiled its smart Spectacles in 2016, this year launched AR glasses, but they are not for sale and are offered only to AR creators. Snap's chief executive Evan Spiegel said, in 2019, that he expected it would be a decade before consumers widely adopted AR smart glasses.

Facebook's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that the company was setting up a team to work on building a shared virtual environment, which it is betting will be the successor to the mobile internet.

Facebook, which has been criticised over its handling of user data, said on Thursday that it would not access the media used by its smart glasses customers without their consent. It also said it would not use the content of the photos or videos – captured using the glasses and stored in the Facebook View app – for personalising ads.

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