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Echo Frames – Eyeglasses with Alexa (amazon.com)
221 points by Zaheer 28 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 241 comments

What's the value proposition relative to the alternatives?

It is adding weight, complexity, and limiting choice to your eye-wear while effectively doing a similar thing to half a dozen wireless earbuds already on the market. It isn't really comparable to Google Glass, because Google Glass used projection onto the glasses themselves (creating a unique value).

Plus Amazon are trying to integrate with the US's predominant eye wear monopoly (via insurance/out-of-network frames) instead of just bypassing it and producing the lenses themselves. So you're paying $179.99 for empty frames and then untold amounts for the actual lenses, and trying to ingrate with an insurance system that's designed to benefit only Luxottica (via their stranglehold of both insurance companies AND lens producers).

Ah, this explains all the push back I got from Warby Parker about not providing a lens prescription. I'd already used Zenni before and gotten used to treating my glasses like what they are...a simple product with lens ground to a specification, not a potentially threatening medication.

Too bad their support couldn't explain why they were hassling me for a document they didn't need (except for in a legal sense).

Why is the legal sense some sort of surprising exception?

Zenni also requires an up to date prescription.

> Zenni also requires an up to date prescription.

No they don't. You just have to enter the numbers.

I can't find the source, but I remember reading something along the lines that the whole "need prescription" was a bullshit ploy created by Luxottica Group to coerce people to going to LensCrafter.

Free markets and globalism are good for everyone except lawyers and doctors. The two professions most overrepresented in congress. Funny how that is huh?

What about... unskilled poor people in developed countries?

You missed the implied "/s".

Simple. I wear my glasses all day every day. I can't wear earbuds all day every day.

If I have to insert earbuds to talk to Alexa, then I could just bring up my entire phone.

> US's predominant eye wear monopoly (via insurance/out-of-network frames)

> an insurance system that's designed to benefit only Luxottica (via their stranglehold of both insurance companies AND lens producers).

How is this a thing? Couldn't a startup come in and trounce them by offering $10 frames and lenses? The optics aren't that complicated, and frames are... plastic?

Zenni, eyebuydirect, goggle4u are all in this space and provide cheaper glasses. It seems like new ones keep starting, then slowly raise prices, leaving a gap for a new minimum cost provider.

Eyeglasses are an interesting example of a market failure - customers have been paying 10x the actual price for an important item, for 20+ years, and the market hasn't fixed it.

In Beijing I used to just head down to Panjiayuan Zhaojia Glasses City and get pairs for ~15 bucks. Rest your head on a machine that reads your prescription, pick out frames, bargain, 30 minutes later you have your glasses.

In the US glasses are medicalized, which hides the reality that glasses are really cheap and simple to make; for people without money this causes real harm.

Yup. My wife works at Zenni in the manufacturing and product. I even tagged along twice to Danyang (Spectacle City). It's hard for another company to come in offering $7 glasses including lenses to the US when you don't have the supply chain optimized (incl. in-house manufacturing of certain parts) and the economies of scale and relationships with suppliers.

And then to deal with the sheer operations (talking like ten thousand plus frames per day).

In the US the optometrist (eye doctor with no MD) makes most of their money from selling marked up prescription glasses.

EyeBuyDirect is owned by Essilor, which merged with Luxottica last year.

I think that the same is true for hearing aids.

Hearing aids are actually quite complicated little machines compared to a pair of lenses.

can't remember the name of the place, but there's a low cost franchise place I went to a few years back. I had a prescription from eye exam, but they'd do those there too. I was in, chose some frames, had my stuff done in about 45 minutes. 3 frames - one was $$ because I chose rimless, but I got 2 backup pairs as well - total cost was a bit under $200. Had I not chosen rimless, and just got the 'regular' basic frames... would have been ~$60?.

They had a deal at that time too - $99 for exam and one frame/lens set, done in a couple hours.

They're fine - have worn every day for 3 years. No 'insurance' to worry about.

Was it Jins?

looking now I think it was eyemart express. I'd lost my glasses the day before and had a long trip coming up the next day (driving). I mostly use the glasses for driving, and couldn't find anyone who could necessarily guarantee same day service - had called some of the usual places that advertise that and got "well, maybe, we're backed up, call back this afternoon, etc". eyemart was, I think, relatively new at that location, so wasn't backed up.

There are. From Zenni Optical (https://www.zennioptical.com/) you can order a pair of no-frill glasses for less than $10 if your prescription isn't too crazy (so you don't need high-index lens), and you're okay waiting for a couple of weeks for shipping.

However, it's not for everyone. For one, it's out of network for insurance providers, so you have to deal with paperwork yourself and the deductible is high. Also since they are online only, you have to adjust it yourself, which isn't always easy. And being online only means you can't try it on beforehand.

Eye glasses are a textbook example of something that should not be sold under "insurance".

Enough people lack the financial literacy to understand the difference between risk and recurring costs.

Unfortunately, nobody wants to change this because insurers love charging premium rates for low risk recurring costs, providers love obscuring their prices, and consumers have come to demand their insurance covers “the basics”.

>(so you don't need high-index lens) Can you elaborate on this a bit? I've been thinking about getting my next pair or glasses from Zenni but I need high index lenses.

You can get decent high index lenses from them for $60, and they have $10 frames.

I actually got a pair of prescription tinted (as in sunglass tint) aviator high-index frames w/ lenses for about $110.

There was a site, myopticalshop.com that could do high-index rimless for $150, I haven’t checked in awhile, though.


So, the rimless frames are $50 and 1.74 index lenses are an additional $129.

They have various high-index lens options, but they cost more, so it won't be $10.

Zenni is ok but adding a simple thing like polarization can double the cost.

Maybe you didn't realize how much more polarized lenses cost to make previously because the price was so inflated.

Polarized lenses run over $30 with zenni, that is more than many frames on the site.

You can get polarized glasses from Amazon for $20.

Zenni gets you in the door with a low base price then slams you with the add ons.

Because polarized lenses cost more to make. Which means Zinni has to pay more. Also, depending on the Rx and frame combination, they can be a little more complicated to manufacture as well.

If you have a reasonable Rx, Zinni are likely using finished lenses. Polarized have to been surfaced in the lab.

Also, in my experience Zenni doesn't necessarily make the polarized lenses to adequate tolerances. I ordered a pair of aviators with polarized lenses and there were such severe pressure points around the rim that it distorted the polarization across almost the entire surface of the lenses. It made the polarization coating basically worthless, and I had to return them to order a non-polarized pair for half the price.

Yes. If the lenses are too large (circumference) too much pressure will be placed on the lenses and they’ll do just as you describe. Certain materials (polycarbonate) will actually crack in the same situation.

Still way cheaper than even getting a non-polarized from like Warby.

Because employers are subsidizing their employee's eye insurance, which is owned by Luxottica, and only usable at Luxottica's shops.

Ultimately even with insurance it is often cheaper to go outside of Luxottica's network, but many people don't even check and just assume that because they have reduced cost "insurance" that it will be cheaper to stay within Luxottica's spiderweb.

The way you solve this is to split up Luxottica via strong competition controls. Have one retail giant and one eye insurance company, not one monolith doing both.

(Former Luxottica Employee):

Luxottica owns EyeMed, which isn't VSP.

Luxottica just purchased Essilor -- so, now, one company handles the insurance, frames, and lenses...turning it into a bigger monster.

The nice thing is, you still get big discounts on glasses with VSP. So when I buy absurdly expensive Bellinger carbon fiber frames, I get something like $120 off the top plus another 20% discount. And I'm not enriching Luxottica.

Every optic has to be custom fit to a frame grinding the frame’s shape around the individuals specific fit.

This also already exists with companies like zenni optical.

Startups do all the time via the internet, and they are growing, but the issue is getting involved with insurance companies and optometrists. It's not as complete a monopoly as one may be led to believe, but Luxottica still does control a large portion of the market.

See https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/does-luxottica-own-80-of-t...

That page badly needs an update.

No mention that Luxottica merged with Essilor a year or two back. Essilor are mainly lenses, but also have a range of premium and designer frame brands they bought. EssilorLuxottica has a huge portion of the resulting market. No idea if it gets near or past 80% now, but they're a $50bn company.

Don’t know about the US, but I always get my glasses in France and it’s 10euro there (lunettepourtous)

The value prop isn't for the consumer, it's for Amazon. Stuffing Alexa into anything and everything means more usage overall and a more attractive platform for companies looking to sell their wares.

In other words: the value is in the extraction of human behaviour which previously existed in the private sphere.

So you're paying $179.99 for empty frames and then untold amounts for the actual lenses

This seems like smartnes.

Pretty much every employer vision plan I've had for the last 20 years has given its employees $150 credit toward frames. So now employees can opt for paying $29.99 out-of-pocket for Echo frames, instead of $150+ out-of-pocket for frames, since any frames worth putting on your face cost $300+.

The last time I got new glasses (a few months ago), the cheapest pair of frames in the shop was $450.

Frames and lenses are always covered with separate co-pays/co-insurance at every employer I've ever had.

These frames sound outrageously expensive. I got mine from CostCo optical. Name brand, look decent, $149.99. Lens was $79.99 (+10 for the edge polish). I could even go for their own brand, although they didn't look as nice on my face. However did get one of their frames, but for sunglasses, where they worked much better: $49.99 for the frame.

There are online retailers with cheap, but also decent frames, for much less than what you are quoting.

It may be the case that you are much pickier than I am, or that the frames in the same price range don't fit you properly. But I have a feeling that you can get much better deals if you shop around. 450 for the cheapest frame is insane. I'll be re-evaluating the 'vision plan' I got in the open enrollment period, because the value proposition is not clear – they haven't even covered the costs at this lower price point.

> The last time I got new glasses (a few months ago), the cheapest pair of frames in the shop was $450.

People need to avoid Luxottica's retailers. That price is absurd. The insurance isn't saving you a dime, the amount you're paying after insurance "savings" is likely higher than you would pay outright elsewhere.

In other countries that I've lived (where you pay cash, no insurance) frames top out at $150~ equivalent (for branded/designer) and start under $30.

My vision insurance is so good receptionists frequently comment on it, and even for me I have to pay a lot out of pocket if I want anything above the barebones frame and lens(scratch/smudge/shatter resistance, blue blocker, etc). After getting my PD measured I bought a few pairs off of Zenni(after seeing it mentioned hn comments) for like $20 or $30 each or something, with all the same extras.

Yes, their ultra cheap frames aren't as nice as the $180 but $30 after insurance ones, but now I have a pair of glasses with different characteristics in the car, in my home, in my office, and in my gym locker. Previously I would use basically one pair to multitask it all because of the price.

> The insurance isn't saving you a dime, the amount you're paying after insurance "savings" is likely higher than you would pay outright elsewhere.

I'm reaching this conclusion too.

Why are you buying such expensive frames? Costco, Zenni, Warby Parker, etc etc all have very affordable frames...

And terrible lenses.

I have a difficult prescription and my eyes are very important to me. I can't trust them to discounters.

The lenses are of identical quality. Both are outsourced to off-site machine cut lens factories and shipped to store.

I don't know where you got this odd idea about lens quality but it isn't factually supported. You can buy thinner and thicker lenses for additional cost, but both will be as accurate as the prescription is.

They are not necessarily the same if the discount store doesn’t offer the same options. A few cheap places don’t offer ultra high refractive index lenses. With the standard high index lens my lenses are very thick at the edges. Also, not all discount stores offer the same anti-scratch, anti-glare, or photochromic options.

The lenses that you get from a discounter will match your prescription, but expensive shops can have differentiating features.

As places move to outsourcing their lens production they can offer more products, since they aren't physically doing it in-store. The handful of discount "while you wait" places, do indeed, have more limited options but it is fast.

Agreed. I get high index 1.74 by Seiko Optics. They're incredible with the most durable coating I've ever found.

People who've only gotten cheap glasses/lenses don't even know how important it is. I get my frames from DITA (www.dita.com) and they've lasted me 5+ years, never bend, warp, etc. Lenses get replaced every 2 years.

High index is cosmetic only, it has the same distortion profile.

Higher index lenses tend to have greater chromatic abberation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Abbe-diagram_2.svg

In practice different materials of the same index can have significantly different abberation. When I very recently got work-optimized glasses from a local optician, I could sit down and compare the materials they could get. One of the 1.60 index materials (Hoya, I think) was as good as thicker lenses while another (Essilor?) would have given me noticeable fringing on a monitor.

Now try to get a place like Zenni to so much as tell you what they're selling.

Some more relevant numbers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrective_lens#Lens_materials

The general trend is that higher-index materials tend to have lower Abbe numbers, but there are exceptions. Polycarbonate is a cheap and popular mid-index material that's widely recommended on the basis of its mechanical strength. Its index of refraction is 1.59 and its Abbe number is 30, but there are numerous materials with a similar index of refraction around 1.6 and substantially better Abbe numbers of 41-42, or materials with a significantly higher index of refraction (1.67) and Abbe numbers that are slightly better than polycarbonate.

Zenni and EyeBuyDirect don't want to promote awareness of chromatic abberation, but they do make it easy to know whether you're ordering polycarbonate, and they both have 1/6/1.61 index materials with better Abbe numbers than polycarbonate. Zenni uses one of the Mitsui MR materials for their 1.6 lenses.

Yes, but aberration is different than the distortion and is caused by different refractive indexes at different wavelengths. I'm just talking about how it distorts your vision overall.

They're a thing on your FACE. They are not just cosmetic, they are lighter.

Weight affects fit and comfort. Coatings affect clarity and durability.

>Weight affects fit and comfort.

Yes, for 2-3% of customers or something that may be relevant (strong enough prescriptions at the tail of the distribution or using glass).

I support your spending as much as you want on frames. I will tell you that I get amazing frames and lenses from Zenni. Their mid-range bifocal glasses (so I can see music on the stand) were better in every way for $90 than I got from my local optician (whom I like very much) for $1,000.

Most of the glasses I get from Zenni cost about $30.

So is mine, and so are mine. The frame has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the lenses it contains, though, except inasmuch as it constrains their dimensions. And there's nothing in particular to say that you have to buy both in the same place, either.

I have a complex prescription and I buy my glasses out of pocket from the web at around $15-20 a pair for both lenses and frames. My last order I bought 6 pair and a pair of sunglasses for less than $150 out of pocket. They may not last as long, but I've lost enough "expensive" frames to not care anymore. There's also the peace of mind of bringing 3 pairs of glasses on vacation and not caring if any of them get lost or broken.

You might try finding a different shop!

I don’t like voice assistants and would never wear this, but I know I’m a minority as I’ve met many people who love their Echo speaker/dot/etc.

This lets you use Alexa without taking your phone out or wearing ear buds. If I liked Alexa and wore glasses, I could see myself being into this product. Even if I didn’t wear glasses, being a hardcore Alexa fan user might justify wearing “fake” glasses just for the convenience.

On Amazon’s end, it’s a smart move. If this product sticks in any way at all, they’ll have a platform to iterate on in the upcoming years - such as making more premium versions with cameras/display/AR/etc. Because this is such a basic product, it will likely not face the same kind of backlash as Google Glass did, and lets Amazon usher the age of face wearables in a much smoother way than Google’s attempt.

So again, I hate voice assistants with a passion and have no interest in this product, but I think this is a very clever product move from Amazon.

> If I liked Alexa... I could see myself being into this product.

Whether you like it or not you will be in their product if people are walking around in public or at work while wearing these. Isn't the future great?

Well, I'd say this seems pretty nifty:

"Amazon open-ear technology directs sound to your ears, letting you discreetly access Alexa. With your ears uncovered, you’ll be able to hear without blocking out the world around you."

I tried the Bose sunglasses and was stunned at how cool it was. Unfortunately they didn't let you use prescription lenses. This does. I will probably look into these over bone conduction headphones.

But I've always wanted to be a spy for a private company! Think of the industrial espionage angle!

Earbuds may restrict other hearing. Having the speakers near but not in your ear may be a better alternative.

> Now you can hear notifications and alerts, turn on compatible smart lights, or call a friend, all without pulling out your phone. They’re designed to keep you in the moment—so you never miss one.

wow, I just had to laugh at this marketing-speak... "designed to keep you in the moment with even more distractions"

My regular glasses already keep me in the moment by forcing me to toggle a light switch with my finger. This marketing is such nonsense. They're really reaching to find some utility in something that provides very little.

Amazon has invested billions into the Alexa platform. It's staggering how many people work in the Alexa org.

Now they have to try and make some money from all this investment because nobody is replacing their echo every year. They've basically become a parody of themselves trying to dig themselves out of an 'AI' platform that never materialized into much more than hands free timer and audio player.

Their way to turn a profit is to shove it into every consumer device they can before consumers realize they don't need 15 different devices to turn on the lights.

It must drive Amazon and Apple crazy that each has what the other needs. Amazon has a voice assistant that works perfectly, but doesn't have a device ecosystem so it can't have access to any of the data it needs to be truly useful (your calendar, email, etc.). Apple has the device ecosystem, but Siri is hot garbage. It's an interesting dilemma.

Now they have to try and make some money from all this investment because nobody is replacing their echo every year.

I find it very hard to believe Amazon ever planned to make money on the hardware. Alexa is a convenient user interface for subscriptions to Amazon services (Music, Shopping, Fresh, etc). Putting the tech in to more things is an attempt to remove any barrier to buying other stuff from Amazon.

The invitation only thing sort of implies that it's as much an experiment as anything else. Real world experiments of that sort are a good thing.

This whole decade is desperate

I prefer this part where they spin having less than the competition into something positive:

> And with no camera or display, you stay in the moment.

>> Gargoyles represent the embarrassing side of the Central Intelligence Corporation. Instead of using laptops, they wear their computers on their bodies, broken up into separate modules that hang on the waist, on the back, on the headset. They serve as human surveillance devices, recording everything that happens around them. Nothing looks stupider, these getups are the modern-day equivalent of the slide-rule scabbard or the calculator pouch on the belt, marking the user as belonging to a class that is at once above and far below human society. [...] The payoff for this self-imposed ostracism is that you can be in the Metaverse all the time, and gather intelligence all the time.


Snow Crash - like 1984 - was a warning, not a manual for building the future.

> Echo Frames are designed to protect your privacy.

That page is careful to always say "protect your privacy". The privacy of everyone else in range of the microphone apparently isn't even worth mentioning. That responsibility is implicitly (and silently) pushed onto the user.

I mean that's true of the phone in your pocket today, what's your point?

The only phone I own[1] doesn't fit in my pocket. Yes, modern "smart" phones have similar problems, but this thread is about Amazon's new eyeglass-style microphone+speaker.

[1] https://www.cdw.com/product/att-trimline-210-corded-phone/30...

> That responsibility is implicitly (and silently) pushed onto the user.

...As it should be? I don't want my technology to make privacy choices for me. I'm not putting down hundreds of dollars to have some algorithm baby me into complacency.

The possibility of being recorded in public has been obvious since the introduction of the microphone, and essentially expected in the smartphone age. What difference does it make if that microphone is on my glasses rather than in my pocket or on my wrist?

The golden rule applies: Don't talk about things you want to hide in public. I'm not saying "you have nothing to worry about if you have nothing to hide" - I'm saying "if you have something to hide why would you announce it out loud amongst strangers?" That's just bad opsec and, yeah, it's on you to police what information you release when you're surrounded by people who listen. Smart devices or not, that's a basic responsibility anyone owes to themselves and the people they're talking about.

Regardless of the value proposition of this product, can we take a moment to appreciate that these glasses have way more going on in them while also costing about the same as luxottica frames?

What a racket

They are a loss leader. Luxottica isn't taking your data or embedding you into an ecosystem of products.

I doubt Amazon make much profit on the hardware, but they probably don't make a loss. Luxottica just make a ludicrous profit on glasses.

I hadn’t even thought of that haha. Overpriced plastic nonsense.

I don't understand why it has to be glasses, when the important bit is just a microphone and speaker, and there is no display capability. Would something like AirPods work just as well? According to the website the glasses are light-weight, so they can't hide huge amounts of battery-storage in them either (unless they're not being entirely truthful).

edit: Okay, I just saw that they have Echo Buds too. So I guess this is only for people who already wear glasses, or prefer them for some reason.

They just announced Echo Buds as well, which is exactly that https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F6VM1S3/ref=ods_gw_fnn_xpl_dt_a...

OT but I love the way they showed the noise cancellation feature on that page: https://m.media-amazon.com/images/G/01/kindle/merch/2019/ONT...

Weird that they went with intra earbud, these don’t fit on me and I suspect a lot of people have this issue since AirPods are not intra

Are these not just bluetooth headphones that have glasses?

"A single charge delivers a day of intermittent usage at 60% volume. Intermittent usage includes 40 Alexa interactions, 45 minutes of music, podcast or other audio playback, 20 minutes of phone calls, and 90 incoming notifications over a 14-hour period. Alternatively, a fully charged battery will last up to 3 hours of continuous audio playback at 60% volume. Actual battery life will vary depending on device settings, features utilized, environment and other factors. Fully charges in about 75 minutes."

Im surprised the glasses model isnt bone conducting. It would make sense to combine bone conducting headphones and glasses.

Bose does Frames, which are bone conducting sunglasses. https://www.bose.co.uk/en_gb/products/frames.html

They aren’t bone conducting. There are little drivers in the arms that are directed towards your ears. I’ve used bone conducting headphones, and these ain’t them!

That said, I was quite surprised at how good the sound was. I think the big problem is that the style options are quite limited. I really think there should be a partnership between Bose and Oakley... the later known for occasionally chunky styling and also modularity.

I'm not sure that works out. Doesn't bone conduction need a lot of pressure? I could see that getting uncomfortable in a hurry with constant wear.

The idea is clearly that these appeal to the earliest adopters of smart glasses, and future versions will offer more functionality. There's also some value to having headphones that you never have to take out when having a conversation (I know that technically I don't have to with my AirPods, but there's some social signaling implicit to removing something from your ears).

I didn't understand it either until other threads pointed that you can use your vision plan to help pay for the frames.

Didn't they also announce AirPods. In your glasses, which you normally wear, wouldn't be an extra device.

Personally, I'm happy wearing an Apple Watch, overlooking the fact that Siri needs a lot of work.

I was gifted an Alexa and disconnected it after the first day. Whatever minor convenience it offers aren't worth the massive privacy risks.

That's what bothers me so much about all these gadgets and apps. They don't even offer anything revolutionary. Just a handful of gimmicks and evolutionary improvements to things you could already do.

Yet people are happy giving up their privacy for it.

It's not that hard to add tasks to your to-do list manually. Or to switch on your table lamp by hand.

Same with my family members getting google home products. Never switched on. I think people tolerate phones and computers because they are isolatable objects that are meant for work. The further this stuff steps into family life and real life relationships (not just narcissistic projections on facebook/ig pages), the more people don't want it.

I'm really conscious of sharing half my conversation with something. I don't even like talking on the phone in public. Not a fan of all these devices that are only powered by voice.

I really wish Google Glass had been a success.

Because google is so much more trust-worthy about privacy?

I have never seen anyone say "Hey Google, Hey Siri, etc" in public, don't think this product will do well

I work at a tech firm. We use these tools fairly regularly. Often, someone will ask a question the other person doesn't know the answer and will turn around and ask their phone. Works pretty good much of the time.

I'm still not sure how useful the frames will be, but I can see a few uses for them, especially on my daily commute.

I guess I am old. I would just use browser.

I hear both occasionally being shouted out from TV and radio commercials at any nearby devices. I have no idea if that actually activates the devices in people's homes though. It seems like it would be extremely invasive if it does (which I realize might be not matter much to people who install that stuff in their homes in the first place)

Don't worry, they got this issue covered!


Eventually this will evolve into a system where you can just think of what u want and an AI assistant will go and do it for you, optionally presenting results within your field of vision, or if you're not an oldtimer, directly to your brain

That would be the good part. The bad part is facebook/amazon/google/apple recording every thought in your brain 24/7.

I wish that instead of being financed by surveillance, you could buy an alexa/google assistant/siri subscription.


How do you believe you can identify that someone lacks intelligence by looking at them? I would think that would at least warrant a conversation first.

You can't. You also can't prove this isn't a hallucination, or that gravity will work tomorrow, or that you won't win the lottery.

But statistically speaking, an average person is smarter than half the people around them. An especially smart person is smarter than even more than that.

I'm by no means cruel to people I find unintelligent, but I that doesn't mean I'm not allowed to be tired of them, or that I have to do a little song and dance about how great they are just because I haven't done a thorough investigation into their mind yet.

> But statistically speaking, an average person is smarter than half the people around them.

This is assuming you believe that a global ordering of intelligence is possible. Personally, I disagree with this belief since there are many different dimensions of intelligence. (It also assumes whatever global measure of intelligence is used is normally distributed, but that's a separate consideration.)

I wasn't suggesting you were cruel, although I think it's unfortunate to applying the terms "gormless" or "slack-jawed" to a person one has never met.

So, what? Nobody is smarter than anybody? We're all just totally 100% equal in every way, except at the same time special and different?

You're trying to high-road this shit. You think you're smart, and I think you are too. We both could probably "guess" intelligence with reasonable accuracy based off looks alone. And even if not, it's a fact that even complete morons have access to high tech. For sure we've both seen them before.

It seems like maybe you're trying to avoid a slippery slope or something, but I think you're slipping the other direction. It's a razor-blade mountain pass, on one hand idiots deserve to be happy, but on the other they probably shouldn't be empowered.

Technology is power, and I'm tired of watching morons poke away at it, applying their force to the world, and ultimately slowing everything down because they push backwards.

I haven't met anyone I would label as a moron. I think if you're talking about a specific kinds of smarts, then sure, some have more than others. I don't think I'm particularly smart, but if you're speaking academically, I have performed better than average. However, I've met many people over the years who most would not consider "smart" by the traditional definition, but they exhibit other forms of intelligence that are often less appreciated.

Amazon is now throwing Alexa at the wall to see what sticks. I don’t see how this made past the initial pitch.

Yeah i agree after trying Bose's smart glasses I felt like why wouldn't i use this/they are better then just regular eye or sunglasses. Regular glasses you can not listen to music through, take phone calls, hear pertinent information about your surroundings, etc.

I feel smart glasses will be bigger then Apple Watch/smart watches and almost as big as smart phones. Most people wear eye or sunglasses already.

You read my post wrong. I don’t like them. I wouldn’t have funded them at all. In fact I wouldn’t even have entertained a prolonged discussion on them, they just don’t make sense the way they are released.

Cool but they are going to be as big or bigger then the Apple Watch.

Go try a pair on ..why wouldn't you wear these glasses vs. just regular seeing or sunglasses?

Bose has had glasses like these in Best Buy for maybe six months. Granted, not integrated with Alexa. Coincidence? It might cost them relatively little to produce and take a shot here.

Didn't they already throw stuff at the wall with the Echo Clock?

Looks just like Bose frames. I haven't used Echo Frames but I own and have used the Bose frames and constantly pair them up with Google Assistant on my phone.

Here's a few opinions on my experience:

- The glasses look bulky but don't feel it

- The sound system is pretty decent, I can listen to music and take phone calls and the audio will be crystal clear

- I don't like the fact that if I raise the volume everyone can hear what I am listening to, this is particularly bad for phone calls but even when listening to Google Assistant giving me the weather forecast rundown can become a problem for others around (not me obviously - but people who think I just have really loud invisible headphones in my ears)

- Battery life can be better, it's not terrible but it's still a bluetooth device that needs to be in touch with your phone to work so it's not too bad ultimately! Depends how much music you will listen to..

- Lack of camera sucks hard: I could think of 200 use-cases for having a camera, instead I have to raise my phone and use Google magic glass to scan QR codes or to translate text. Shame :(

- Did I mention they just look bulky?

Overall they're nice and rather useful in some very specific situations, I love biking with them (they're protecting my eyes from UV properly according to Bose) and I love going for walks around the park wearing them - but only when I am alone and not too many people around so I don't look like I've got bees in my ears. Yes the buzzing can be annoying for people who walk beside you. (Or maybe that's a good thing, if you don't wanna hear your friend complain about how the price of their favorite beer went up another half a dollar here in Austin. /sarcasm)

To all the people who don't like/freak out about their data being harvested: would you use such a device, if it is completely open (both hardware and software) and the data is under your control?

No, I still wouldn't.

It's unethical (and in many cases illegal) to record and analyze other people's conversations without consent. The intended usage is to only record your own speech but it inevitably leads to compromising others as well.

If I had control over the recordings, I could use it for "good" (useful to me) causes. But I can't make any guarantees as to what other people will do with conversations recorded in public.

1984-esque start-up idea: pay people pennies to forward your company the recordings of their surroundings. Make profiles and sell "anonimized" datasets of the interactions.

Definitely. If it's harvesting data exclusively for my own use, then it's working for me rather than against me, or at least rather than treating me as merely a vessel from which to collect data.

Devices such as these and "smart speakers" are sold at a loss because their lifetime value to the vendor is in gathering and analyzing data. They are attacked more emphatically than smart phones by privacy enthusiasts because they are so grossly unbalanced when comparing end-user value versus their cynical treatment of users' data interests. A smart phone can have its "smart agent" features disabled and remain a highly valuable device to its user. But if you take away the smart agent feature from these more recent "smart" devices and you're left with an inert brick.

I'd be much more inclined to, yes. The "Tony Stark" fantasy is a neat one - it's just heavily tempered by the reality of how much data and control we're letting out of our control.

Same answer here.

The only company I'd even think about maybe-sorta-kinda trusting with this kind of device would be Apple, and that's only because they've put a clear priority on making more and more stuff happen on-device and on not selling info on what happens off-device.

we are letting out of our control because it's more convenient. Nowadays to truly own your data, you have to go to great lengths, but the solutions are arriving, but probably not for the mainstream consumer any time soon.

Not really. Alexa doesn't solve a problem that I have. I generally question the usefulness of solutions like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant. I'm sure they're useful to some people, but that pool of people seems to be rather small.

Speech as a means of controlling a device also seems down right stupid. Personally I don't see it being superior to a keyboard in any form. Certainly there are scenarios where voice commands are the better/safer choice, but again, those cases are extremely few and not something I encounter.

Honestly what's use case for Echo Frame, who seriously needs this?

Yes, in a heartbeat. Privacy concerns aside (though that is a huge factor!), I tend to use more niche software that isn't supported at all by most of these "smart" devices. I have a phone running Ubuntu Touch and I've preordered the Librem 5, for example.

While I might be willing to try working on support for a new device provided its interfaces are documented, I have little desire to buy an expensive new device knowing I'd have to reverse-engineer the thing before being able to even use it.

If the sounds are never recorded it is better than 'recorded, but kept securely'. Open hardware/software still has bugs and storage/processing is a daunting problem.

Direct competition for https://www.bynorth.com/focals. Not sure how North (fka Thalmic Labs) competes?

Amazon is massively invested in North. Pretty sure they are working on expanding the same market instead of competing (and then combining efforts).

This seems great.

Now, if I could just have a smartphone that wasn't a tracking device. That used a LEO network that couldn't geolocate phones accurately. And anonymous accounts, payable with untraceable digital cash.

But maybe I'd settle for a device that only connected via open WiFi, and routed traffic through VPNs and Tor.

Those have a display though

Now that you don't have to go to a showroom to get them, I'm super tempted to try these out. Anyone have any experience with them?

I have a pair. They’re pretty neat and my general take on them is that they show some great promise for the principle of the technology and North’s implementation works as advertised. I particularly appreciate the notifications and ability to make some quick text messages with it. I look at my phone a bit less now because of it, which is nice.

I’m mildly skeptical of the ring controller and I have had a couple of them break on me. However, their customer support has been great and they replaced them immediately with no problems whatsoever. Overall though it’s pretty solid and I sometimes catch myself missing the ring if I’m not wearing it, but that might just be my fidgeting habit.

North definitely sold me on the concept and I’m looking forward to more advanced implementations of the technology going forward. I’m not completely sure if I would recommend any of these glasses products coming out (like from Amazon or North or Facebook) to my friends at this time, but if you’re curious about them or if you like having the cutting edge, then they’re absolutely worth a look at least. If anything, the display will be a cool thing to experience if you haven’t seen it before.

North Focals are technologically far ahead with the projection display

These look interesting. If they had some kind of dev kit, buying them would be a no-brainer for me.

"Eye"glasses which do nothing related to your eyes. At least Google Glass had a display.

Can I just have a display? Pretty please? Doesn't have to be high resolution, it doesn't have to have much intelligence other than connecting to my phone.

We just need magic-mirror-like glasses that don't look like you have been captured by a Borg cube.

a display seems like the only way to go with something like this. having a camera is too invasive but having only audio seems like it would be very limiting.

at least with a display you can have a conversation with someone while you glance at it but having to listen to 2 things at the same time isn't something most people can do

intel's glasses seemed like the best compromise but it's been years since they announced them so I'm guessing it was only some sort of concept

"Google Glass, but only the creepy bits."

It doesn't have a camera, which imo was the creepiest part

I remember the camera being the bit that got everyone the most skeeved out over Google Glass. Also it standing out so much made it too odd and obvious. These scan a lot more like plain old glasses.

Yeah, this has fewer sensors, but is 100% still a monitor-the-world-and-phone-home device. Glass delivered a lot of additional functionality via the camera and AR capabilities.

It was glib, but still- much of the utility is gone, leaving more or less just a monitoring device.

Yeah it removes a lot of the utility, though I'd say Glass wasn't an AR device really at least not in a real useful sense. To me AR requires placing the visuals tracked in the environment not just in a little display like Glass did.

I thought the camera was the creepy bit?

Uhh.. I would love to have been involved in the product design meetings for this one.

The problem with Google glass was just the camera! We can do it better!

ok so let's hear it then? How would you do this better? very curious to know.

Perhaps suggest that there is no market for this and there may never be one. This particular release is invite-only. I don't see this going anywhere.

> How would you do this better?

A set of Apple's AirPods do everything this can do, far less obtrusively, and cheaper even.

1) I already wear glasses, and I hate earbuds. This product suits me perfectly.

2) Amazon also released earbuds.

Exactly. My question for OP was not an attempt at being passive aggressive. I'm actually curious to know what he could do better in that product meeting as he stated. I'm just trying to think what would a better way for Amazon to bring Alexa to people in a more convenient way and can't think of anything else from what they are doing. Just curious to know what OP has to say.

I hate talking to people who have their airpods in, in fact I require them to take them out if they are the one wanting my time.

you are aware that they released that as well right?

I’m not willing to carry around a corporation controlled microphone on my face.

The only voice recognition I am comfortable with would run on open source software on hardware I owned and physically possessed. I have looked and this doesn’t seem to really exist.

apart from snips? https://snips.ai

If anyone visits Japan, I highly recommend visiting


The Frames are absolutely the best I have ever seen in my life. They can get expensive but absolutely worth it. Got a pair of these that are made of titanium. They are so light you forget you even have glasses on.


They may have a shop in California.

You don't necessarily need to go to Japan, there are a couple of different Japanese brands of titanium frames and most high-end glasses stores will have at least one. I've got a pair of Waza frames, and as you say: expensive, but highly recommended. They're basically weightless.

I'd rather they worked on making regular prescription eyeglasses and frames less expensive. That would help a lot more people and could still be profitable considering the huge markups on frames now.

You can literally buy prescription glasses (including the lenses) for like 20$ on AliExpress. How much cheaper would you want them to be?

I'd rather see easy to use 3d printers and good designs that you can buy yourself and tweak if you want to.

Prusa did this way back: https://twitter.com/josefprusa/status/425772744777940992

Unfortunately the source code disappeared from thingiverse...

It would be nice to have hearing aids based on this concept. That way you can hide a nice microphone, larger batteries and a better DSP chip.

> And with no camera or display, you stay in the moment.

In other words, no one will ban you from their bar like they did when you wore your Google Glass.

That was Molotov’s, my neighborhood punk rock bar in SF. I was so proud after that happened.

I might be interested in these if they offered bone conduction speakers like some sunglasses, since "bone conduction glasses with prescription lenses" isn't a product anyone has yet successfully launched.

>Amazon open-ear technology directs sound to your ears and minimizes what others can hear.

That just sounds like bullshit-speak for "earbuds hanging outside of your ears".

Sadly, I don't think we could allow these at my workplace. We sometimes discuss secret things.

It would be cool to be able to attach it to different frames. The default one looks low quality.

I really don't understand why anyone would want any of these new Alexa products, your phone has all the same capabilities and it only takes an extra 4 seconds to pull your phone out and talk to Siri or Whichever other voice assistant you prefer.

Also, if you have the new Airpods they can already do 'Hey Siri' even with your phone in your pocket.

I suspect the draw here is intended to be for people who already wear glasses all the time, but I personally would trust Amazon exactly not at all with that kind of omnipresence.

like in video-games, latency kills the experience. You want to have the lower latency from where you want something (e.g. listen to music) and when it actually happens.

No one seems to be addressing the fact that these frames are just damn ugly.

Luxottica, while a profiteering monopoly, at least has a zillion different styles. And would you spoil the look of your $500 glasses with some clip on doodad?

Literally my first thought was, "is this a repost from April 1st?"

So if google glass people were glassholes what do we call alexa people ?

Good: Echompanion (this list is more difficult)

Bad: E. Choli, Echocentric, Echoterrorist, Echromancer, Echoroomer, Echommercial, Echo-kroach, Echonvict

Echo face?

‘Lex Wads

I'm assuming this uses some sort of bone conduction to allow you to hear alexa without having to have earbuds, but still keeping it quiet to others. I wonder how well it's implemented.

Like the Bose that came first, these are not bone conduction, just speakers aimed into your ears.

They use regular speakers that are supposedly only sending the sound down (more info in The Verge's hands-on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCKstxDONWI )

One thing that seems to be lost here: this is an early-adopter product. It's entirely possible this is little more than an R+D product subsidized by those who want to participate.

Awesome! Now Amazon can listen in on my conversations even when I’m away from home! And as a bonus they can hear everything anyone I’m near says, too!

Obviously, this isn't the product for you. I just filled out their application. I can't wait!

He raises a good point though because even if it's not a product for some people, they will still have their data harvested without consent as a result of talking in proximity of a person wearing one such pair.

She. :)

Mention the word firestick around alexa... the wtf moment was creepy

Do you carry a phone?

Perhaps he just does not want to use one more spy device. :)

She. :)

She! :D

By the way, is there a gender-neutral third-person pronoun besides the singular "they"? It can get confusing to some people. "It" can probably get confusing too, and I think it is also considered rude to refer to people by "it". I have never used "it" to refer to people. Many languages have gender-neutral third-person personal pronouns. I wish English had something that is less ambiguous than "they" or "their" (I know, context!). Maybe I should just start using "s/he".

I hang out with a lot of queer/non-binary/agender/etc folks and "they" is generally the preferred choice for both people whose gender you don't know and for a lot of enbys. There is a very small set of agender people who would like to be called "it" but for the most part that's considered a dehumanizing insult, yeah - don't call anyone "it" unless that person has specifically said that's their preferred pronouns.

People have proposed [a bunch of gender-neutral pronouns](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third-person_pronoun#Alternati...) (scroll down a bit and you'll find a chart) but none of them have achieved sufficient usage to stop sounding kind of weird and funny to most English-speaking ears.

s/he will probably work for written text... until you end up in circles with enough people who prefer "they" for it to start being a problem. Maybe you never will, I dunno. If you're in a large software company on the West Coast you probably will.

I’d question why someone would get this over Alexa-powered earbuds. The obvious benefit is this is “always on” your face and earbuds that are only on X% of your waking day, but at least when you are alone it seems like most people would wear their buds/headphones enough of the day where no one would really feel like they would need it in their glasses over headphones. Headphones are also an easier sell to a wider population of users since they’re relevant to all vs a subset of people who need or want to wear glasses.

Maybe for people who already wear glasses, but are unable to wear earbuds?

Whenever AirPods come up in discussion, there are plenty of people on HN who say they don't fit right, or are worried they'll fall out while exercising. Maybe that's the audience?

Or maybe people who can't wear buds at work?

Yeah, I'm not really sure what huge market there is for this product.

too much. alexa should stay on the phone. putting alexa on watches, eyeglasses, bicycles, cars, etc..is like trying to make other good things TOO ubiquitous. Imagine toilet paper packets for your purse, your wallet, your car, your office..

Promoting certain activities steals time and space away from other more appropriate activities.

You'd think in 2019 that they could think of another use besides managing a shopping list for the woman.

Is there a way to use bone conducting headphones with Alexa, such as the Trekz?

I wonder if Amazon reached out to Bose on this to collaborate.

Liked the way Amazon shipped this product. It’s definitely a prototype of mature version of smart glasses which can provide some useful insights about customer behavior.

Reminds me of Tilly from Paper Menagerie!!

Why not just headphones but glasses?

Another thread full of unsubstantial negativity and jokes. If I wanted to read comments like this I would go to reddit.

People with small bluetooth speakers strapped to their head blasting music for everyone to hear... great.

These seem terrible

Are there any legitimate glasses with a camera instead of a microphone?

Wonderful, now my data can be harvested wherever I go instead of just in the privacy of my own home

And a bonus. Now you can harvest my data too when I am behind you in the line at Starbucks.

Perfect! Make sure you speak up so the AI can understand you and Amazon doesn't have to hire more poorly treated minimum wage employees to listen and figure out what you're saying

There's good software to extract voice from audio though! One time I had this webpage [0] open, forgot about it, until a colleague started a phone conversation from the other side of the open space, my laptop's mic picked it up and I got his sharp voice in my headphones.

[0]: https://people.xiph.org/~jm/demo/rnnoise/

Amazon doesn't use minimum wage employees for that, they use "contractors" and if they get them overseas they don't even have to pay them minimum wage!

You don't have a smartphone?

> You don't have a smartphone?

Not one developed by Amazon. It's not fair at all to say a microphone in an iPhone is equivalent to a microphone in an Amazon device.

Apple keeps recordings for 2 years, how long does Amazon keep theirs?

I agree with you on the point you're getting at. Really anything that can be potentially logged due to a bug or accessed by a human may as well be considered the same as perpetual, in my opinion.

The difference is I trust Apple enough to turn off Siri on my phone and feel safe nothing is being broadcast online or stored locally for another app to access.

Is this guaranteed? Hell no. I also don't read the source code of every open source program I use (and even if I do I'm aware people exist much smarter than me who can obfuscate their malicious code).

Apple's business strategy, their history of actions, and their security system make me feel confident enough in _assuming_ my voice never reaches their servers and cannot be turned in by an app without explicit permissions. That last bit is also important. Like the Android Facebook background audio "bug", even if it is really a bug, to me it's no different.

Lastly even if Amazon were trustworthy about not listening when they say and not accessing voice data they shouldn't, I don't trust the platform very much. Quick idea, can you create a multi-turn alexa skill that after the first turn pretends Alexa is finished but it is actually actively recording and waiting to fake a response to "Alexa! <do other skill>"? Personally I don't know, don't have the source to check, and I wouldn't really believe any amazon engineer coming in here and saying "It's impossible to exploit". (Even if my 5 minute idea is impossible multiply that times thousands of malicious people spending much longer trying to exploit it)

edit: Don't mean to imply an Apple is impossible to hack or exploit. Just that they take a more active stance and have the history to back it up.

> edit: Don't mean to imply an Apple is impossible to hack or exploit. Just that they take a more active stance and have the history to back it up.

the NSA don't need to hack them... they can just ask (they did).

what we need is true e2e encryption ...

I deactivated all voice controls on mine. The entire point of these frames is voice control.

I don't have a smartphone.

Edit: I had a Qualcomm pdQ in 1999.[0] But once I saw how smartphones were being designed as surveillance devices, I refused to play.

0) http://archives.cnn.com/1999/TECH/ptech/12/03/qualcomm.pdq/i...

> But once I saw how smartphones were being designed as surveillance devices, I refused to play.

Get a FOSS Android phone. I have a OnePlus 7 Pro, previously a Galaxy S5 (the newer Galaxys also work as long as you don't get the US model); it runs LineageOS (stock Android). I chose not to install the Google Play packages. I get apps from F-Droid, which is a repository + package manager that builds and distributes FOSS applications.

It pings time.android.com for NTP, and I think it also uses a Google server to check when you're behind a captive portal WiFi. The default dialer/SMS/Contacts app have some options in the settings that will connect to proprietary APIs; I don't think they talk to Google but if you do then you can replace them with applications from F-Droid. But other than that it's 100% clean.

In the system settings I can completely block applications from using the network. LineageOS also adds Privacy Guard, which lets you deny permissions to applications. I need WhatsApp to communicate with some people, but I have denied it contact permissions so it gets fed an empty address book. I also have it set to require confirmation from me to use the camera or microphone.

I also installed AdAway from F-Droid, which is a DNS-based firewall like Pi-Hole. From F-Droid I also got Firefox with uBlock Origin, K-9 mail client, NewPipe as a YouTube frontent, OsmAnd+ for maps/navigation, DavDroid to sync contacts & calendar with Nextcloud, the Nextcloud Notes app for synced notes, and a OpenVPN client to prevent AT&T from spying on me and injecting tracking identifiers into my internet usage.

The only real threats in the system are the proprietary driver blobs and the risk of Google putting evil code into AOSP instead of limiting it to their proprietary services - but I hope the LineageOS team would be able to catch that.


A phone has more surveillance capabilities than anything announced today.

They could have a feature phone like a Nokia 3310 or maybe they trust their phone carrier more than Amazon.

A phone can be left at the door in social meetings. Real prescription glasses can not.


> When your entire argument is based on a very basic, widely used logical fallacy no one is going to take it seriously.

Like assuming a product has always-on data mining?


Your comment:

" ... now my data can be harvested wherever I go instead of just in the privacy of my own home"

Two points:

1. How do you know what harvesting takes place? 2. IF it is occurring, how has the status quo changed?

The comment seem to make some strong assumptions about what these glasses are doing, without any substantiation.

>1. How do you know what harvesting takes place

I'm basing my assumption on the wealth of information already available about Amazon and Alexa

>2. IF it is occurring, how has the status quo changed?

As I already said, now it can occur in public rather than simply in people's homes, and affect bystanders who have not chosen to utilize alexa devices


okmokmz 28 days ago [flagged]

If you're going to say I can't care about my privacy in relation to Alexa because of some other unrelated privacy concern then yes, it would be a whataboutism and I would call you out on it, as I would in any debate, because that is how civilized discourse works. If you have a genuine, logical argument I'd like to discuss. Unfortunately most people on this site seem to like downvoting relevant points they feel emotional about and arguing without actually making any effort to understand anyone else's point.

basch 28 days ago [flagged]

shouting "logical fallacy" is not how debate works.

using knowledge of fallacy to illustrate the underlying logical error in someones argument is how debate works. you should never actually need to reference a fallacy out loud during debate.

okmokmz 28 days ago [flagged]

If there was more to your initial comment I could have said more, but you essentially said 'whatabaout you having a smartphone' and that was it. The sole argument was fallacious, and there was nothing more I could reply to...

Can you please not do tit-for-tat flamewars like this on HN? They're ultra tedious, and you broke the site guidelines repeatedly.


Edit: you've done this so much elsewhere and broken the site guidelines so badly that we've banned your account. Please see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21089074.

basch 27 days ago [flagged]

I didnt say that. That was someone else. I think everyone else understood the implication of "but you already have a camera and microphone in your pocket, what additional privacy violation does this cause above and beyond everyone's phones." The poster likely thought it didnt need to be spelled out.

Can you please not do tit-for-tat flamewars like this on HN? They're ultra tedious, and you broke the site guidelines repeatedly.


basch 28 days ago [flagged]

"Wonderful, a tracking device that follows me around"

"You already have a tracking device that follows you around."

Thats not a change in subject, nor an accusation of guilt. It's not a whataboutism.

You shouting whataboutism, and changing the subject to fallacies is more of a whataboutism.


basch 28 days ago [flagged]

> involves charging your accuser with whatever it is you've just been accused of, rather than refuting the truth of the accusation

Thats not what just happened. "You accuser" didnt accuse you of being a privacy violation.

Smart Phone was brought up as an EXAMPLE of having a microphone and camera in your pocket, connected to the internet. It wasnt a change in subject from tracking devices.

>Although you are clearly very confused, because whataboutism is a logical fallacy....

I believe you are the confused one. You changed the subject to a fallacy discussion, by mentioning whataboutism. Its like changing the conversation to fruit by mentioning bananas. Obviously banana is a fruit.

>By carrying a smartphone I'm not allowed to care about my privacy?

to quote you "instead of just in the privacy of my own home." no one said you arent allowed to be concerned about privacy, but thats not what you said. the "hivemind" disagreed with your PREMISE that you arent currently tracked and that this product would suddenly create tracking ability that doesnt already exist. Its the "instead of just in my home" part people are taking issue with, because the "just in my home" reality doesnt exist.


It might be a whataboutism IF a smart phone company accused alexa of being a privacy violation, and amazon responded and said "no you are."

> I am talking about Amazon Echo glasses.

Which literally changes nothing. It's an item on your body with a microphone. So just like your phone, your headphones, etc. It's nothing even particularly new.

Google glass, at least, had a camera that significantly changed the privacy equation. These change nothing.

Yeah but do amazon build a backdoor for police into your glasses like they did for amazon ring?

>backdoor for police into your glasses like they did for amazon ring?

Citation needed, please. To the best of my knowledge there is no back door for police in ring gear. They can request video from users, but there is no requirement it be given up and the request can be denied.

> They can request video from users, but there is no requirement it be given up and the request can be denied.

If you refuse they have a deal with amazon to hand it over to them anyway.

"However, he noted, there is a workaround if a resident happens to reject a police request. If the community member doesn’t want to supply a Ring video that seems vital to a local law enforcement investigation, police can contact Amazon, which will then essentially “subpoena” the video.

“If we ask within 60 days of the recording and as long as it’s been uploaded to the cloud, then Ring can take it out of the cloud and send it to us legally so that we can use it as part of our investigation,” he said."

source: https://www.govtech.com/security/Amazons-Ring-Video-Camera-A...

Amazon can pretty much do whatever they want with your video feed including publish views from your doorstep on social media without your permission: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/daveyalba/amazon-ring-d...

Police have also shown up at people's doors to intimidate them into handing over videos.

"Police have also told CNET in the past that they've shown up at known Ring users' doorsteps to request footage in person if the online requests don't pan out."

source: https://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-ring-wants-police-to-keep-t...

This shouldn't surprise you though. Basically any scrap of data you give to companies like apple google and amazon will be sucked up by the government at some level. Just the other day there was an article about how companies are hit with national security letters forbidding them from saying anything about the data collection going on, but we've known since Snowden's leaks that the NSA was collecting data from those companies already.

>“If we ask within 60 days of the recording and as long as it’s been uploaded to the cloud, then Ring can take it out of the cloud and send it to us legally so that we can use it as part of our investigation,” he said."

Just because someone says something doesn't mean it's true:

>"The reports that police can obtain any video from a Ring doorbell within 60 days is false," a spokesperson said. "Ring will not release customer information in response to government demands without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us. Ring objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course. We are working with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office to ensure this is understood."


>"Police have also told CNET in the past that they've shown up at known Ring users' doorsteps to request footage in person if the online requests don't pan out."

This is shitty but not a back door, and it's also something police do if you have regular camera footage they think will help with an investigation too.

So the cop says they get whatever video they want no matter what, but Amazon's PR department says otherwise.

Maybe this was a NSL situation and the cop unintentionally spilled the beans, or maybe it's just weasel words by the amazon PR rep. Technically what they said specifically ("a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us") doesn't necessarily mean anything has to be signed off on by a judge. It just means the police have to make a legal and binding demand which shouldn't be a problem if handing that data over to police whenever they demand it is part of the binding terms of their contract with police.

I'll admit I'm not giving amazon or the police the benefit of the doubt here, but I also have zero reason to.

I think occam's razor here points towards the cop just having no clue how the system works. Amazon explicitly states they'll be reaching out to educate the dude on how it works, lol.

Glassholes, but without the glass. Coming to you soon!

So just "holes"

I immediately thought one use case where this might be extremely handy: for stock brokers.

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