A Closer Look at Snapchat Spectacles

Kamran Yunus/Copy Editor

Spencer Wu
Staff Writer

Marketing teams are always looking to expand a brand and push the boundaries of conventional marketing. The incredibly popular app Snapchat has been doing just that for the past few years. Originally a simple photo messaging app, Snapchat has evolved into an essential social media platform for America’s youth, recently rebranding itself as Snap Inc. The company works hard, revamping the app to make it more user-friendly and constantly adding exciting features. But the very concept that paved its future could very well halt it.

This fall, Snap Inc. will release Spectacles, a wearable technology that functions a device to capture Stories. These sunglasses boast bright neon colors, with a $130 price tag. This marketing campaign is focusing on new angles of capturing fun with friends and everyday interactions. Adopting a GoPro-esque, hands-free way of capturing everyday life, the Spectacles capture a 115-degree wide scope, similar to an average field of vision.

Snap Inc.’s latest invention is intended to be a fun and playful way to capture moments and memories, encapsulating the entire brand. What makes sets it apart from other wearable tech gear like Google Glass, the Oculus Rift and other technology infused headsets is serving a singular purpose. The aforementioned head pieces can surf the web, watch videos and interact with others. There are none of the complications with obfuscating reality associated with Google Glass or the cumbersome setup of a virtual reality device. Spectacles came to do one thing- record ten second videos for Snapchat.

Aside from all the fun and spontaneity of capturing images throughout the day from a first person point of view, there are some issues regarding the innovation. With the new frontier of wearable technology comes the concern of safety and privacy.

The ability to discreetly record whatever you see without others knowing is a double edged sword. For example, California requires all parties to consent to recording, which could pose legal problems. It allows users to have concrete video evidence if circumstances require but it also prevents nonconsensual videoing of normal human exchanges. Many will be hesitant to be in the line of vision of Spectacles users for obvious reasons. Forget about keeping eye contact.

This is a similar situation to the one police officers are in in when they capture their public exchanges. However, here is reasonable justification for police body cameras. Officers wear first person cameras to capture interactions with alleged criminals in order to set the record straight and monitor police behavior. Spectacles, however, are capable of recording anyone, anywhere, and at anytime. This might detract even the most loyal Snapchatter from purchasing Spectacles. When they do hit the market, it will most definitely be a spectacle seeing how people handle them.