How would you feel talking to someone while knowing they have the capability to record and share whatever you’re doing because they are wearing Snapchat’s first foray into the world of hardware? With a design that echoes nineties McDonald’s happy meal toys the social company looks to add a sense of voyeur to their shared content that threatens to go full-1984.
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Messaging app firm Snapchat has announced its first move into the gadget market with new wearable piece ‘Spectacles’ (sunglasses with a built in camera). The device that records 30 seconds of video at a time before syncing the data to the cloud will go on sale later this year priced at around £100.
The risk lays with where this data will go as video moves to the cloud immediately so if the device is confiscated the content could already be safely stored and ready for sharing via the phone app. Many look to compare this threat of privacy to CCTV, however, as the name implies, this content is closed-circuit meaning that it is not available to everyone as it would be with Snapchat when shared. The danger with Snapchat is a classic case of giving anyone the power to record in ‘secret’.
There is a light that turns on when video is being captured through the glasses which at least allows everyone else to see when the camera is active and to know when to avoid being captured on a video they don’t wish to be shared in.
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Snapchat’s 26-year-old creator Evan Spiegel explained in an interview his rationale for creating ‘Spectacles’.
“It was our first vacation, and we went to [Californian state park] Big Sur for a day or two. We were walking through the woods, stepping over logs, looking up at the beautiful trees.
“And when I got the footage back and watched it, I could see my own memory, through my own eyes – it was unbelievable.
“It’s one thing to see images of an experience you had, but it’s another thing to have an experience of the experience. It was the closest I’d ever come to feeling like I was there again.”
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As part of this announcement Snapchat is rebranding itself as ‘Snap, Inc.’, a decision which underlines the company’s ambition to go beyond the ephemeral messaging app, a product which is highly popular with the younger demographic.