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Snapchat launches Spectacles V2 (techcrunch.com)
98 points by AnatMl2 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 125 comments

With kids, I have often wished to be able to capture a short moment, after it occurred. I hate having my phone out and recording my 2 year old daughter, because it changes her behavior (and I think trains her to be a bit narcissistic).

I'd gladly pay more than $150 for that ability, but I just don't think Spectacles are it.

Someone, sometime, will crack that nut, though, and I'll gladly throw them my money. Google seems to be trying to do it with Clips [0].

[0] - https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/27/17055618/google-clips-sma...

Interestingly, I think Microsoft has a solution in this category... on the Xbox. "Xbox Record That" goes back in time and records the last 30 seconds of gameplay.

This is how Google Clips should have worked. You can't trust AI algorithms to know exactly when something should be recorded. But, if they're constantly recording and throwing away video, then imagine yelling "Ok Google, record that" to your Google Home, it could instruct all the Clips you have in your house to save the last 2 minutes, then give you an interface to select and edit the videos you want.

How Google didn't think of this integration is beyond me. Sometimes they live twenty years in the future. Sometimes they miss things that are so blatantly obvious that Microsoft has a solution already.

But I also question the motive. This idea that we need to record everything for the future is very recent, definitely motivated by human psychology to collect things and escape the clutches of time. We've lived for thousands of years without it. Why do we need it now? Nostalgia? We already know that Facebook and Insta are bad for your brain by showing you the "surface perfect" lives that all your friends seem to live.

What, then, is the psychological impact of living in the "beautiful past" instead of the moment. You're trading time and money today to collect these. When we recall memories, especially positive ones, our brains add imperceptible flair to them, helping us cherish them even more. This is lost when we take and watch videos of everything, recording the absolute truth of moments in our past. We post them to Facebook. We embarrass our children later in life with them. Its... weird.

Nvidia offers this, but both Xbox and Nvidia's feature only apply to gameplay footage on your computer.

Minor correction: not just gameplay on computer, you can continuously record your desktop too (for whatever reason)

Could be a pretty major battery drain to be constantly writing video on such a small portable device.

As a twitch user that sounds so obvious to me.

A friend brought Snapchat Spectacles (V1) for the exact purpose, and said it was fantastic (the one issue being the light when recording - distracts baby! - that it sounds like V2 solves).

The main issue he had, though, was that Spectacles forces you to use Snapchat. And grandma and grandpa aren't about to install Snapchat just for this. They need to make it much easier to export directly from the glasses to the camera roll, but Snapchat has no vested interest in doing that. So I hope to see a different company come along with a similar project one day.

I just checked and the export to camera roll option is still there. Did you try that to share with grandma/pa?

Yes but the circular videos get all messed up.

Cool, we lose privacy light because baby gets distracted by it and dad doesn't own tape?!

I’ve already cracked this with Nest cameras around our house. When something cute happens I tell my Google Home to take a note with the time so I can go take a clip later. Very poor showing from Google that this isn’t already integrated — would love to say “Hey google save a clip of the last 3 minutes from the bedroom camera”

I can’t say I love the idea of turning my home into a surveillance state.

I didn't either, but I didn't have a better plan at the time and I didn't want to lose the moments.

I'm working on a non-cloud replacement with Raspberry Pis, where all of them are continuously recording and saving to local storage. That's the easy part, haven't figured out clip extraction and when I do I'll replace the Nests.

> I'm working on a non-cloud replacement with Raspberry Pis, where all of them are continuously recording and saving to local storage. That's the easy part, haven't figured out clip extraction and when I do I'll replace the Nests.

Have you heard of ZoneMinder?


I have not been able to get good frame rates from Zoneminder connected to MJPEG streaming on Raspberry Pi. I figure I'd need to record the video locally on the Pi but that's about as far as I've gotten.

Then don't. No-one is forcing you to install Nest.

The needed feature for me is POV. Eye contact, etc, are a big part of memories.

I know there is probably a dystopian future that could come from such a product, but, well, my daughter will only be 2 once.

If you haven't seen this episode of Black Mirror yet, highly encourage you do: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2089050/.

You kids ever hear of Strange Days? Loved that movie. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114558/

Try it. Mounted at floor level the Nest footage does a pretty good job of capturing the moment.

Have you checked out Google Clips? I've heard good things about it, though I haven't tried it out myself: https://store.google.com/us/product/google_clips?hl=en-US

Yeah, most reviews I’ve seen are underwhelming, including the one I linked.

What the hell is that clip of the guy slapping the ball out of the kid's hands all about?!

If I had to guess I'd say, young dad plays with toddler while mom watches.

Reminds me of this TED talk:


"MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language -- so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son's life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch "gaaaa" slowly turn into "water." "

I don't like the design of spectacles. Also, you can't get the videos of your daughter unless you push them to Snapchat (in case you didn't read the TC article)

A reasonably designed, classy glass with the camera not too obvious will do it for me. Will pay $300-400. Already paying that for simple designer glasses.

I think it's already been done for years, just not by one of the big websites.

You can search on Amazon in Electronics : Security & Surveillance for spy glasses to see a listing that may be what you want.

Why are spectacles not it?

1) I'd prefer if I could capture a window that includes the previous x seconds, plus what follows. Live Photos on iOS do a great job of this. Spectacles begin recording immediately from button press.

2) I'd like to directly access the captured moments from my camera roll. I don't use SnapChat.

3) I'd like a more innocuous design than Spectacles. I don't mind a "recording indicator", but the style doesn't really fit a 30 year old dad.

I realize I am not a fit for Spectacles target market. However, I think the market for what I want is a) quite large, b) much more willing to spend.

Well they are tinted 'sunglasses' so not really suitable for wearing constantly indoors. So they need to be near to hand to put-on, at which point a phone is probably just as near .

this might be of interest to you https://benjaminbutton.co/en/

I'm curious -- why do you want to record the moment?

That's a ridiculous question. $10k says you don't have kids.

I have 3. 15, 14, and 7. I'd give anything to have more of their precious moments saved so that I could reminisce and stroll through those periods once more.

Why does it matter if I have kids or not? Everyone has friends and family. The question remains.

Friends and family is 100x different. It’s impossible to explain unless you are a parent.

Could you not give it a try? Others often try to understand the experience of others. It is the basis of empathy.

When a man and a woman love each other very much, they exchange legally binding jewelry and then rub their bodies together until a baby comes out.

Gay folks can do it too but the process is more complex.

To preserve it.

That is like asking why anyone wants to record anything. Why make home movies? Why take a picture? Why write down a thought?

Yah but the entire point of Snapchat was to discard those moments...

Was. Not anymore.

You cannot preserve a moment nor a feeling. If you value your memories based on a audiovisual capture of events you are missing out on actual feelings of remembrance.

Some people are more forgetful. Regretfully, I fall into that category. If I haven't written about a thing or captured its audio or video in some way, there's little chance I'll remember it after a year.

Those memories have no intrinsic value, but they are very precious. Being able to revisit them A/V is invaluable.

True! I think A/V can also help remember or trigger the memory feelings.

Huh? That doesn't even make sense.

why do you think this?

Aren't you just begging the question here? Personally I don't see why people take pictures of a lot of things. As for preservation -- if you remember it, is it not preserved? And if you somehow forget, could you not forget that you recorded it?

if you don't see the point of people taking pictures and videos of a lot of things in general, then why post it in a thread discussing a device in a product category made specifically for that? It's like saying that you don't see a point of music in a thread with people discussing a new Yamaha piano, and then you attribute that as a disadvantage of that piano.

Maybe he is too busy with work related thinking to enjoy the actual moment and want to save it, so it can be enjoyed properly at a later time.

Kino from Stargate?

I'm surprised to see them have another go at this after the first go flopped. I always thought one of the main issues, which apparently they've addressed but it doesn't seem so, is that they're aimed at an age range that highly prioritises fashion and style - and yet they release a v2 that's almost as ugly as the first, and that my grandma wouldn't be seen dead in.

I'd actually applaud them for buckling down and improving on what I believe is still a good idea. I actually wish you could set them to instantly go to your story rather than having to transfer the photos to your phone and do it manually later.

>"I actually wish you could set them to instantly go to your story rather than having to transfer the photos to your phone and do it manually later."

Is there any word on why this is? These would be a lot better if I could just click the button on the glasses and have it post to my story automatically (I understand this means the user wouldn't be able to add any overlay effects but I feel like the vantage point of the video is the main attraction to posting it in the first place). With this friction it makes the process a bit less sexy.

Probably having a constant connection drains the battery much faster.

Would you need a constant connection? Auto-uploading to the phone if it’s in range after each recording would drain the battery faster but with their advertised ~2 day battery (one week of use on 4 case charges) it doesn’t seem impossible, it seems like a trade-off they decided not to make.

When the first pair was announced, I was hoping that it was targeting the life-logging market... right up until I saw them - arbitrarily restricted video lengths, and Gene-Wilder level of ostentatious to the point that even Salvador Dali would balk. So the second pair I had more hope for, but they've still fundamentally got the same odd design along with a huge hypnosis looking pinwheel when you are taking video. Awful.

Yeah the first edition was terrible (I used mine for about 10 minutes) and this doesn't look any better. I would love some nice life-logging glasses for filming my nephews, the occasional bike ride or sunset. The market is filled with very low resolution cheap units, with no actual good options from what I can tell... actually just googled it, these are both interesting: https://www.vuzix.com/Products/Blade-Enterprise


This was my initial reaction too. But if they figure this out while nobody is expecting it, they'll have a huge first mover advantage that facebook/instagram can't replicate as quickly as software.

To me, the circular video format is an amazing new feature. Now no longer you need to worry about how you hold your phone, and your friends can view it in any fashion they'd like to.

I wonder if they built a proprietary video codec for this or whether they were able to adapt an existing one to circular content.

Also, people are used to spending hundreds of dollars on nice sunglasses, it is clever to go after that spending. $150 for sunglasses merged with a gopro is amazing.

I'm not a big snapchat user but I respect them very much for shipping this product.

>To me, the circular video format is an amazing new feature.

Is it though? Within the app maybe, but what if you want to pull the video off and say, post it to youtube? Outside of the snapchat walled garden, a round video will look absurd.

>$150 for sunglasses merged with a gopro is amazing.

It's not a gopro, it doesn't have (real) HD, it records round videos, and can only record for a maximum of 30 seconds. I cannot think of any overlap in use-case between this and a gopro.

It's just a normal video, warped. Someone already made an iOS module that'll replicate what the app does:


it's not warped. a camera lens is round, it makes a circular image. here that circle is smaller than the sensor. all they're doing is wasting 1/2 the sensor's pixels :)

If they can get a square (rather than rectangular) sensor, and if my math is right, it's a lot less than half..

A circle has an area of pir^2. And it fits just inside a square whose sides are length 2r, and whose area is thus (2r)^2 or 4r^2.

Therefore, the circle fills pi/4 of the square. So only 21.5% of the pixels are wasted.

It gets worse if they use a rectangular sensor, though. With a 4:3 rectangular sensor, it's 41.1% wasted. For 3:2, it's 47.6%. And for 16:9, it's 55.8% wasted.

The linked app is just a video player. It plays videos shot with the spectacles. It does not seem to record.

Thank you for the pointer. It was very interesting to go through the repo.

Most codecs will compress a round vignette of a square video extremely well.

Does it detect orientation and automatically rotate so it’s level?

If not it might as well just be square,

check the video, it does.

I can understand why this might be of interest to some people, but V2 is still a long way from something I think most people will want.

10 seconds of video, up to 30 if you keep poking the thing? Some commenters are acting like it's a gopro, it's not even close. How frequently are you doing something you want to record that exceeds 30 seconds?

Not to mention the round output, not a bad thing for a casual social media post, but what if you want literally anything other than that?

Oh, and of course your $150 purchase will only work through a proprietary app that adds another step to getting your pictures and media out.

Hard pass.

Proprietary app to you, but main chat app to others.

I like the idea of these, but Snapchat is unusable now – and I'm saying this as a fan of their esoteric UI. Their app has become stupefyingly bad, primarily from forcing a ton of random celebrities and tabloid content into the stream of people you intended to follow. It also grinds my modern Android to a halt pretty frequently.

They have added a tab with subscribed content where all the tabloid content not is (except if you subscribe to it)

There are people that I follow in the publisher/subscriber sense that aren't Friends so aren't in the mercifully clean section. Instead, I would have to wade through the random ordering in the tabloid section to find them.

It's too bad they didn't take content curation a little more seriously (or personalized, at least). The in-app content seemed almost revolutionary in the beginning, especially those from more serious publishers that explored one topic over multiple high-design pages. It turned into AOL before it had time to mature.

Can people actually buy these? My brother is the biggest user of SnapChat I know (dozens of posts a day?) and wanted a pair, but had to wait for me to travel to NYC to buy some for him at their temporary store. It was either that, or follow some web page in hopes that a random track showed up somewhere within driving distance.

> The $150 V2s are $20 more than the old version and only available on Snap’s app and site — no Amazon, pop-up stores or vending SnapBots. And V1 owners will get a firmware update that lets them take photos.

First 20% of the article.

The old ones have been listed on Amazon since at least June though this doesn't say whether they were in stock


Their initial release was admittedly sad. Made them extremely difficult to buy and then it turned out they lost $40,000,000 on unsold inventory.

You can buy it from the app or their website.

They were always listed on Spectacles.com

Make them look like a pair of Raybans instead of the current bubbly design and they’ve sold me.

Spectacles V2, or as some may call it, Snapchat's 2nd attempt at mass commercializing body-worn spycams.

It's a dual-use tech.

The consumers will be the ones fronting the cost for and implementing further mass surveillance and state infiltration into our private and personal life.

They haven’t learned anything.

Eh, a billion dollar company has a marketing department that said they should go for a second try of this.

They probably studied it, asked customers to try it, etc...

Lets see what a billion dollar company comes up with. If nothing else, it pushes innovation a little forward.

I'm guessing that this isnt the case. I'm guessing that it's yet again another instance of Evan Spiegel believing he knows what customers want the best despite evidence indicating otherwise.

In the first demo POV video of the article, the girl has to push them back up on her face after a simple spin. I would think they would need to stay up on their own to maintain a proper POV perspective. I'm surprised they didn't re-shoot that. Is that a selling point?

The underwater capability could be huge. Given the timing here (mid spring in northern hemisphere), I suspect Snapchat is fully aware of this killer feature. Influencers could have fun with it while enticing the masses to buy a pair.

People still use Snapchat?

Granted I'm a bit old for their target demographic but it's a ghost town as far as I can see (when I open it once a month). Seems like everyone has migrated to Instagram Stories.

Absolutely not true for my demographic (18 UK). Everybody is using Snapchat stories still because it's more "personal". Instagram Stories are used mostly by brands.

My exact same experience, even though (I think) I'm still in their target demographic.

Is there a Spectacles alternative that has a developer SDK?

Preferably with a sleek design that doesn't scream "I am wearing a computer on my face."

Bought the V1s, used them for only 1 trip, then I stopped using them because what I care is sharing with people on facebook not on snapchat. I've got a water oriented trip coming up, and am tempted to buy them, but then, everything is trapped in snapchat, so whats the point?

You can export video clips.

Not really stylish, as the article wants you to believe. But under-water capable is pretty cool. Either way, I've never used Snapchat so I'm not the target audience.

Actually purchasable online AND in the UK this time, so I've bought some. First Spectacles weren't available here at all.

Any chance it saves to anything other than snapchat?

April fools? lol

Article does a terrible job of explaining the differences between this and v1. I got:

- yellow ring is gone

- you can click photos

- exports are always HD

If this is the entire list then I dunno how snap plans to sell them any better than v1.

- Slimmer case

- Faster video transfers

- waterproof

- slimmer frames with nicer colours

- prescription options

Also the article lists most of the features in the first paragraph, so I hardly consider that a legitimate criticism of the content.

Agreed. Maybe they didn't manufacture 10 million of them yet, at least?

- waterproof

- different colors

Why does Techcrunch publish marketing spam (money), and why did you post it here (money?)?

doubt; i consider this noteworthy for the tech industry.

That says very little for the tech industry. This is the low-effort ad copy pasted on top of an obnoxious photo of a model biting her tongue and pretending to smile:

> Photos, not just video. No yellow ring alerting people to the camera. Underwater-capable. Classier colors with lighter lenses. Prescription options. Faster syncing. And a much slimmer frame and charging case.

Techcrunch should have sold out for a bit more.

Probably an Off Topic comment, but I still can't see the appeal in sharing so much of your life through social media. What is the point, exactly? To show how cool/amazing life you have? Is that need really so strong that you will:

1. But a $150 product and

2. Wear it even if you don't want to?

As someone else has pointed out, although they are certainly more stylish that Google Glass and Spectacles v1, their design is still pretty ugly (IMO). I think if they really wanted to crack into the celebrities/fashion market, they should have worked with an actual high-end fashion designer to get nicer designs.

Glassholes v3? I can't help but feel there's something deeply wrong with a world that voluntarily signs up for and actively participates in creating a surveillance state. After all the stories, we still haven't learned anything.

Whatever happened to Privacy Visor? As stupid as I'd look walking around with those crazy glasses, it seems like it's becoming the sane way to live.

I understand that I don't even get Snapchat, so I'm not the target for this, but wow, that is not even sort of interesting.

You have to disconnect your phone from WiFi to connect to the glasses' WiFi to transfer data? I'm not interested in trying to get those glasses connected to WiFi, but I'm also not sure this is a better option.

> You have to disconnect your phone from WiFi to connect to the glasses' WiFi to transfer data?

I'm guessing that since most people will be using these outdoors, losing WiFi won't be that big of a deal

yeah, I guess... It just seems so clunky

From the support docs [0], it appears that you can configure the case to connect to your home WiFi network, and import over that.

[0]: https://support.spectacles.com/hc/en-us/articles/36000040694...

I don't think I'm the target market either, but it seems to be a good fit as a GoPro competitor. At least in as much as people are often buying GoPros for Point-of-view vacation videos.

(And GoPros also use wifi to download, which is what me made me think of it in reply to you.)

Spectacles record for 10s only (30s if you press 2 more times) and do not let you record in 4k or change FPS. Hardly a good fit as a GoPro competitor.

I hadn't seen that yet. Annoying limitation, and you're right.

do you have to connect to the GoPro's wifi network?

I just don't get it... Let me plug the camera into my laptop (or phone through bluetooth I guess) and set it up to connect to My home wifi, or my beach house's wifi and I'm done.

GoPros create an AP and host a Cherokee server in it to serve contents of the SD card. Transferring over Bluetooth is slow. Other alternatives are using your phone's Micro SD slot, buying GoPro Quik Key or other SD card reader for USB C/Lightning USB, or paying 5$/mo for GoPro's Plus service which uploads the media straight from the camera to their cloud using an existing WiFi network.

I made an app that uses computer vision to help people track what they eat with computer vision. I'd love to have these if they opened up an API so that we could make the experience 100% passive.

Right now our users still have to pull out their phone and take a picture when they're eating and it turns out that a lot of people forget to do it.

I'd also be interested in something like the spectacles but as a small clip on camera that I could stick on any glasses / my shirt. Google clip is a bit too big.

That's a bizarre technical choice, isn't it?

I bought a $28 smart outlet. You open up the app, press a button on the outlet for 5 seconds, and they are sync'd. You add your WiFi password. Now, obviously the outlet is stationary, whereas your glasses move with you. So you'd think you would sync to your phone with bluetooth, and let it do the uploading.

Oh. The article. It does sync over bluetooth. 7-second press of a button. Makes sense. Where did you see that you have to disconnect your phone WiFi?

"Syncing to your phone now just requires Bluetooth and a seven-second press of the shutter button, rather than a shoddy QR code scan. Exports always happens [sic] in HD over Specs’ internal Wi-Fi now"

syncing != exporting

Have you never used a WiFi memory card for DSLR cameras? It works exactly the same way and it’s pretty good.

I would expect them to post to Snapchat as you take photos.

Over what interface though? Bluetooth is too slow, even v5. NFC is even slower. Wifi is the only one that makes sense.

Why the lock-in?

huh... I never got around to buying one but always thought it would be interesting to try... I'm probably imagining it being more of a bother than I guess it actually is.

How about spending the same amount of money to build cheap usable glasses for blind people. No we are too ego washed to try anything that benefits humanity.

As long as the geeks shout innovation on cheap money we'll bank on the idiocracy of the masses.

Why in the hell would it be Snapchat's responsibility to build vision tools for blind people?

that's like saying why is it U.S responsibility to export Democracy by funding terrorism

It's not really at all. You're comparing a private company to one of (if not the) most powerful nation in the world?

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