It’s basically just catching up to Google Assistant
According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Meta is transitioning from a social media giant into a metaverse company. The ambitious endeavor will take years and copious amounts of money, to say nothing of the effort needed to ease Meta’s massive user base (across multiple services) into this new, virtual normal. Part of that shift is going to involve introducing users to new kinds of hardware, and we got to meet one of these early facilitating/transitive devices late last year — the Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses. They already allow you to record short first-person perspective (FPP) video clips to post on Facebook, and now Zuckerberg has announced that these smart glasses are getting some additional WhatsApp integration — but, like most Meta offerings, there are some limitations.
Ray-Ban Stories are being updated with more hands-free features, as we first heard about from a leak back in April. Zuckerberg says you can use the glasses to make WhatsApp calls, compose messages, and listen to messages from the app using voice commands. The ability to reply to Messenger and WhatsApp texts using similar commands is in the pipeline.
Similar voice command functionality was added to Messenger last year, and it’s trickling down to WhatsApp now. The change is rolling out in a phased manner in the coming days. Ray-Ban Stories users need to ensure they’re running the latest firmware on the glasses and the most recent version of the companion Facebook View app on Android and iPhone. Meta says WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption remains unaffected by this change, and voice transcripts or raw audio aren’t stored anywhere.
Although it’s a nice-to-have feature on these smart glasses, Google Assistant has offered comparable voice-activated functionality for years. Disappointingly, Meta’s latest change won’t even benefit a large chunk of WhatsApp users in India and Brazil because Ray-Ban Stories are sold only in the US, the UK, Canada, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, and Australia.