Hey, remember Ray Ban Stories, Meta’s collaboration with the sunglass maker on digitally enhanced glasses that can take photos, play audio, etc.?
Well, they’re back – or at least, Meta’s announced some new elements for Ray Ban Stories, which don’t take it into AR territory just yet. But they could be relevant for some users.
First off, Meta’s added new voice commands within the system, which will enable you to reply to incoming WhatsApp, Messenger, and text messages just by speaking.
As per Meta:
“Once your message is read out, say ‘Hey Facebook, reply’, and you’re off to the races, while you can also now tee up a new WhatsApp, Messenger, or text message with a single voice command. For example, you could say, ‘Hey Facebook, send Jasmine a message on WhatsApp: can’t wait for spring break,’ and your glasses will confirm the message before sending.”
This is one of several new voice controls that you can activate when wearing your Meta glasses - which might look a little weird to passers-by, but could be handy for replying on the go.
Meta’s also looking to make its voice commands more conversational and responsive, with more natural-sounding engagement.
“Instead of saying, ‘Send a message’, soon you’ll be able to also say things like, ‘Ask Martha if she wants to come to the party’, or ‘Tell David I love him’, and the glasses will be able to infer that you’re trying to send a message. They’ll even know whether they should punctuate your outgoing message with a period or question mark based on context cues.”
Again, could be weird for people in your immediate vicinity, but it’s another way to help improve the utility of the device, which could be handy in some situations.
Meta’s also integrating Spotify controls for Android (which is already available on iOS), enabling you to cue up music when wearing the device, while it’s also rolling out Meta accounts to Ray-Ban Stories, which will mean that you can log into their smart glasses without using a Facebook account.
So, cool, right? Some new tweaks for Ray Ban Stories, which will provide additional, functional value in some ways.
But they’re not major updates – they’re not Meta’s long-awaited AR glasses, which are reportedly still in development.
There were reports, at one stage, that Meta had shelved its AR glasses project as part of its broader cost-cutting push, but more recently, Meta has indicated that the next stage for the device will be coming in the next few years, which will also tie into its metaverse vision.
According to Meta’s product roadmap, the next big update for its Ray Ban Stories glasses, currently set for launch in 2025, will include a ‘viewfinder’ element. That will enable you to read incoming text messages within your field of view, while they’ll also include QR code scanning capacity, along with hand controls to navigate the display.
A full AR version is then slated for launch in 2027, which will be the next big leap for Meta’s wearable projects, and will bring digital experiences into direct integration with your everyday life.
Though, as noted, that plan could be impacted by Meta’s efficiency push, which will see the company cut over 20,000 staff in total. But even within this, Meta’s still spending big on its next-level developments, and given its alignment with the metaverse, it does seem like the next stage of its smart glasses will remain a priority.
But we’re not there yet. These are much smaller tweaks, which are unlikely to prompt a sudden rush on Ray Ban Stories sales, but they’re steps that are necessary in the steady development of the device.
And they look cool, which in itself is a major win for the project.