Snap Unveils Eye-Popping Camera Spectacles

Snap, the company formerly known as “Snapchat,” on Saturday announced sunglasses that take videos through a built-in camera in the frame — bringing to mind Google’s controversial Glass product.

Snap’s Spectacles let users take 10-second videos by tapping a button on the top left-hand corner of the eyeframe. Users can tap on the record button to record another 10-second segment. They can record videos up to 30 seconds long in all.

The videos can be stored locally or transmitted over WiFi or Bluetooth to Android and iOS devices.

The Spectacles immediately bring to mind Google Glass, which caused Google no end of trouble. The headgear stirred strong opposition from privacy groups. Some bars, restaurants and other businesses serving the public banned them. Some users were violently accosted.

Snap Unveils Eye-Popping Camera Spectacles

Is Snapchat planning to build an AR device?

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Speculation that Snapchat may be planning a piece of hardware has been building for several months. CNET reported in March that Snapchat had hired several wearable technology experts, while in 2014, the company acquired Vergence Labs, a start-up which develops wearables similar to the Google Glass.

As opposed to virtual reality, which immerses a user in a computer generated environment, augmented reality overlays the real world with computer graphics and information. The best example of augmented reality is the Pokemon Go app, which made headlines over the summer.

Is Snapchat planning to build an AR device?

Instagram’s Stories Inspired by Snapchat

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Everyone has a story to tell, and Instagram on Tuesday announced Stories, a new way for users to tell theirs.

Stories allows Instagram users to string together images and videos for a dynamic slide show presentation that can be shared with friends or the entire Instagram community.

Rather than sharing pictures and videos individually with others on the platform, a user can choose to share them through a story. Someone following the story simply taps the new story icon on the Instagram interface to see the latest addition or to watch it from beginning to end.

Story content can be enhanced with a number of text and drawing tools. The content is ephemeral: It disappears in 24 hours unless a user chooses to preserve it.

Stories from people a user follows appear in a bar across the top of the app’s feed screen. When there’s something new to see, a colorful ring appears around the person’s profile photo.

For Snapchat users, Stories no doubt seems familiar.

“It has the same name as Snapchat’s stories, and it seems to be a direct copying of what someone else has done,” noted Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research.

Stories meets a need for Instagram users, said Jackdaw’s Dawson.

“If you spend a day doing something, you may have a bunch of pictures you want to share, but you don’t want to ‘overgram.’ So you only post one or two pictures and you feel sad you didn’t post more,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“This allows you to post a bunch of material with people without crunching up their feed,” Dawson added.

Instagram’s Stories Inspired by Snapchat

Snapchat’s Curious About-Face

Fleeting memories will be a thing of the past with a new Snapchat feature currently rolling out.

“Memories,” introduced earlier this month, allows users of the app to save photos and photo stories to their phones, as well as share them with friends.

Finding snaps or stories can be done with a simple text search.

Protecting snaps and stories on a phone is easy, too. Items can be moved in and out of “My Eyes Only” mode with a few taps.

Unlike most Snapchat content, which is supposed to be ephemeral, content stored in Memories or sent to My Eyes Only is backed up to the app’s servers automatically.

Snapchat’s Curious About-Face