Smart glasses just got smarter

It’s a glorious day for tech dads everywhere: Meta and Ray-Ban smart glasses are officially for sale in Canada.  

Driving the news: Meta has become the latest billion-dollar company to officially enter the smart glasses market with the second iteration of its design with Ray-Bans, now including a built-in Meta AI assistant, hands-free live streaming features, and a personal audio system. 

Catch-up: Just because all your closest buds aren’t calling you from their sunglasses yet, doesn’t mean these bad boys haven’t been around. Snap was the first tech giant to look at photo-shooting sunglasses nearly a decade ago, on its way to building today’s Spectacles

  • The rollout of Snap’s Spectacles in 2016 was choppy: Adoption struggled to pick up, the photo quality wasn’t there, and the company lost US$40 million in the process.
  • A year earlier, Google had stopped selling its own smart glasses, Google Glass, to consumers to focus on enterprise applications, but has since axed that effort too

Why it matters: This time around, the technology is better, and both Meta and Snap are pitching their smart glasses as a tool for creators to stay connected with their audiences rather than just a sleek piece of hardware that can blend your digital and physical realities.

  • Smart glasses are still in the early stages of what they can offer: Think of being guided through a historic site or reading real-time captioning of conversations.  
  • Meanwhile, various groups have launched ChatGPT-powered smart glasses that respond to your queries while you’re on the go, including Lucyd and RizzGPT. 

Yes, but: As smart glasses creep back into the limelight, people are wary about wearing cameras on their faces. Concerns about always-on cameras and microphones that allow users to record their surroundings without the consent of others will likely stick around.—SB