Meta has announced new updates to its Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses.
Meta’s new updates all target strengthening the integration between the Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses and users’ smartphones to unlock further voice command functionality. With the new updates, Meta is making a push to further integrate smart glasses into our daily routine, which aligns with Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg’s belief that AR/VR smart glasses will replace smartphones in the future.
Once the updates are rolled out, users of the Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses will be able to issue voice commands to trigger phone calls and texts, and the glasses will have the capacity to read new incoming messages, eliminating the user’s need to take out their smartphones from their pockets while using the glasses. Meta will also integrate this feature across WhatsApp and Messenger so users can enjoy hands-free calls and messaging – including those who speak French or Italian.
The new features will enable users to reply to WhatsApp, Messenger, and text messages by stating the voice command, “Hey Facebook, reply…” after which they can state whose message they want to reply to and on which platform the reply is to be made. Once the user is done, Ray-Ban Stories will confirm the message and then send it. In its announcement, Meta gave an example of how this will work: “Hey Facebook, send Jasmine a message on WhatsApp: can’t wait for spring break.”
Meta will also launch a feature that makes interactions through the glasses smarter, enabling more conversational interactions with the Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses. For example, Meta said when a user says, “Ask Martha if she wants to come to the party”, the glasses will understand that the user wants to send a message to a contact named “Martha” and will also analyze how the command was issued to include correct punctuations in the message where necessary.
Furthermore, the voice commands will also enable users to enjoy hands-free control over their incoming calls by saying, “Hey Facebook, answer” if they want to pick up the call, or “Hey Facebook, reject” if they do not. Meta will also be expanding the “Spotify Tap” feature from iOS to Android, enabling Android users to control their music/podcasts by tapping or holding the touchpad on the Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses.
These new features for Ray-Ban Stories take the functionality of smart accessories to the next level and serve as the next step to a future where smart glasses can completely replace smartphones in certain situations. For now, Meta says its goal with feature updates to Ray-Ban Stories is to enable you to “stay in the moment, keep your phone in your pocket, and securely connect with friends and family.”
Ray-Ban Stories feature update availability
Meta will begin to roll out the new features in June. The company is also doubling-down on separating the parent company, Meta, from the social media app, Facebook, with “Meta accounts”.
Meta accounts were initially launched for Meta’s VR headsets and Horizon metaverse but is now being expanded to Ray-Ban Stories.
Meta accounts are completely separate from Facebook accounts. They are only used for logins and managing devices and apps in the Meta ecosystem. Meta says a Meta account will be a requirement for Ray-Ban Stories users starting in late-June of 2023.
Lastly, Meta clarified that text messages, phone numbers, contact history, and voice command transcripts/audio will only be stored locally on the Ray-Ban Stories device. They will not be stored on any server or shared with third parties. WhatsApp messages and calls will also continue to enjoy end-to-end encryption.