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The return of Google Glass?

Snapchat has long been one of the leaders in the social media sphere but it now looks to be making its mark in the physical world with the launch of its first tangible product.

The company, which has recently rebranded as Snap Inc, has announced plans for its first wearable: a pair of sunglasses that record video. The sunglasses, dubbed Spectacles, are fitted with a little button. Tap it once and the glasses begin recording for ten seconds or give it three clicks to capture a maximum 30 seconds of film. The footage can later be transferred to your smartphone and shared through the Snapchat app.

Sound familiar? In many ways these glasses invoke visions of Google Glass, the infamous wearable that Google was forced to withdraw amid abounding privacy fears.

But there are some crucial differences that could see Snapchat’s glasses making an impact. First the $129 price point, much cheaper than Glass. Secondly, they’re more overt. This, combined with the fact the device is just being piloted at present, could go some way to alleviating privacy concerns. I’ll wait with bated breath to see whether Snap Inc’s Spectacles take off. But if they do, they could provide an exciting opportunity to see life — literally — from a respondent’s perspective and observe their responses in near to real time.


Emma Muckersie
This article was first published in InBrief magazine, November 2016
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2016