“Just for Snapchat,” brands the Spectacles sneak peak site. In a recent move, Snapchat changed its name (sorta) and brand, then announced a new wearable with few details on where and when. It scans as risky investment mixed with genius marketing. They have no product on the ground yet, but there is a buzz in the wearables community. You can bet there’s one going on in the Snapchat too.
If you’re not familiar with Snapchat, not personally but maybe from your kids, then good. We are still speaking to our target demographic.
In brief, Snapchat is the photo-sharing platform where the kids share images or videos with an expiration baked into them. When those pics or vids expire, you can’t see those images anymore.
With Spectacles, Snapchat has found a new way to collect those images and videos, beaming them directly from your eyes into their ecosystem. (Yeah, I don’t get it either.)
While we may not have all the details on the new wearable from Snapchat, some things are clear up front. This is not the same thing as Google Glass, for many reasons. They call them Spectacles. They may be the thing that takes the Snapchat brand to the next level.
The easy comparison is Google’s failed Glass project. That last sentence would rub a few project managers at Google the wrong way. Sorry, that’s how the public sees Glass; those creepy wearables, which invade our privacy.
Glass wanted to replace your smartphone, maybe even your computer someday. It wasn’t just about taking video or pics without people’s permission, it was about the world of the internet in your eyes.
Answers to your questions would appear like magic in Glass’s HUD, the little glass cube over the right side of the frames.
What Google didn’t anticipate was how much people would reject the possibility of you recording them at any time.
Spectacles propose to do just that but go even farther to plaster those images on the Snapchat. Unlike Glass, they will get away with it because Spectacles let people know when you are recording.
Plus, Spectacles look a little silly.
It’s difficult to take them seriously, not just because they’re wearables by Snapchat, but because they look like costuming.
Like it or not, the frames are of the current fashion mode, where all glasses must be circular or shaped like a cat’s eyes. Spectacles land somewhere in the middle, leaning towards the circular style.
Where Glass was just one camera, Spectacles contain two. Each camera has a ring of lights around the lens, notifying you that they are recording. It’s a small detail, but one for which Google should take note.
Filming people is nothing new. We’ve enjoyed personal cameras in growing numbers since the 1980’s. It’s just, they used to have a red light to let you know if they were filming. Snapchat borrows that concept with Spectacles.
It also is in their favor that these are classified as a toy. Obvious to anyone on the receiving end, Glass was clearly reporting our activities to Mother Google; the great data collector.
Snapchat’s identity is akin to a temporary tattoo, unlike Google which feels like the CIA.
It probably bears repeating that Snapchat just changed their name to Snap. That is their official corporate name. Their platform will still be Snapchat, but they do not call themselves a social media company. They’re a camera company now.
That’s a bold move for a company who makes no cameras, not yet anyhow.
Something is afoot at Snapchat, er Snap.
Snap is also not saying anything more about when Spectacles will release, nor how much they will cost.
Their timing appears ripe for a pre-Christmas announcement, so get your Santa pen ready. These would fit perfectly in a stocking.