Simon Jones: Smart thinking
Author: Simon Jones
Facebook and EssilorLuxottica, eh? Who’d have thought it? Not me, that’s for sure. But that might be because of my general lack of interest in the smart glasses sector.
When Google Glass was first released back in 2013, the technology captivated me, and I’ll happily admit I got caught up in the wave of thinking it would be the future. I was in my early 30s then, so maybe I was in the right age bracket for a product like that. Because today, I really don’t find the idea of a pair smart glasses particularly appealing.
As is typical of the tech sector, the reveal of the partnership was light on detail and heavy on hype. We know that the first brand to utilise the technology will be Ray-Ban, so whatever your thoughts on the brand, we can assume the glasses will at least look good. Not something you could ever say about Google Glass. The other thing we can assume, given EssilorLuxottica’s involvement from outset, is that the device will have been designed around a pair of glasses and will consider the optical retail market. Google’s attempts to get Glass into optical channels was too little, too late. Frame attachments for Rx lenses were average at best and even with Luxottica’s late intervention in 2014, Glass slipped out of the public eye.
Aesthetics aside, it was privacy that turned most people off Glass. Talk to someone wearing a pair and you would be left wondering if the conversation was being recorded or even streamed by a camera attached the to the temple. Privacy will be a key factor in the success of this new venture, something Facebook is all too acutely aware of. It already knows where you are and what you’re thinking. Are we ready for it seeing what we see?