At the Meta Connect Keynote, it wasn't all VR headsets and Snoop Dogg-powered AIs. Meta is looking to turn everyone into an IRL streamer by announcing the new Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses that will let wearers livestream to their followers and allow for some first-person POV filming.
The Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses are an upgrade from Ray-Ban's Stories smart glasses that never quite took off because of poor battery life and recording capabilities. The new feature that will interest streamers and content creators is the ability to livestream directly to Instagram and Facebook Live hands-free. Comments will appear to you, or you can have them read aloud to you by the glasses.
Meta did a short bit with Ferrari F1 driver Charles LeClerc livestreaming a go-kart session to his millions of followers, giving us a better sense of what sort of celebrity/influencer hijinx one could get into.
A Qualcomm Snapdragon AR1 Gen1 chip powers the glasses. It's got an ultra-wide 12-megapixel camera and can shoot 1080p videos for up to 60 seconds. The Ray-Bans also have Meta AI built-in, so you can issue voice commands. During the keynote, we saw that you can ask the glasses to take a picture and send it to a friend or ask Meta AI to perform other tasks like you would any digital assistant.
It has built-in microphones and speakers, so even if you don't plan on using it for this sort of streaming, you could simply use the glasses as a Bluetooth headset instead of headphones, which is probably nice if you're outdoorsy.
A future update will allow the glasses to recognize landmarks and will even be able to translate signage from other languages in real time. However, they won't do real-time speech translation akin to what Google showed off at I/O 2023. Though, Google hasn't actually officially announced any AR glasses yet.
Our pals over at Tom's Guide spent some time with the glasses and left with mostly positive things to say, praising the better overall features, like the much-improved battery life and storage over the previous generation of smart Ray-Ban glasses.
The only downside, according to Tom's, is that when you're recording or livestreaming, the white light that turns on on the glasses seems to be a little faint. It should be bright red and noticeable so people around you know you're live and recording, or else it will raise some privacy issues when streaming in public.
The Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses retail for $300 and are available for preorder right now, with a shipping date set for October 23.