Wednesday, 5 October 2016
Why Snap’s Spectacles Are Going to (Finally) Make Life Logging Cool
The human desire to log the realities of everyday life is something that technology companies have been trying to turn into a successful product for years. With a new pair of smart glasses on offer, the company behind Snapchat hopes that the answer lies in simplicity.
Some of the strongest proponents of the life-logging movement have recently retired from the pursuit. But those early adopters sought to record everything, from sleep and steps to calorie intake and mood. Ultimately, they found the process difficult and unrewarding.
Google’s attempt to capitalize on the phenomenon with its Glass project struggled to take off. First announced in April 2013, the device later became available as part of the Explorer Program for the princely sum of $1,500. It was ultimately scrapped as a commercial product last year, sidelined instead to research and workplace use.
Glass had many problems. Certainly, its price made it an exclusive item. Privacy advocates worried ceaselessly about people snapping images without permission, coining the fabulous term “Glasshole”along the way. But perhaps its biggest failing was Google’s attempt to shoehorn a small computer, display, camera, microphone, and more into a diminutive frame. This was Google trying to invent the future, and failing.
Now Snap—the new name of Snapchat—thinks it can do better.
Where Glass was an exercise in speculative future-gazing, Snap’s new Spectacles are a study in pragmatism. The new sunglasses, which are styled like Ray-Bans, allow the wearer to record first-person video at the press of a button, shooting up to 30 seconds of circular video with a 115-degree field of view. The clips can then be transferred to a smartphone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, to be added to Snapchat.