Are Snapchat’s Spectacles creepy or cool?

The hottest gadget this fall might be a pair of glasses — specifically, the $129 Spectacles glasses made by Snap, the company formerly known as Snapchat.

And Snap is selling the glasses, which feature a camera at near-eye level, in a unique way: Via vending machines that are showing up around the country, including a pop-up store in New York City that has led some New Yorkers to wait for six hours in the cold. Granted, this is the same city that lined up for cronuts, but is there more to Spectacles than the fad factor?

“They’ve drawn a lot of early comparisons to Google Glass,” The Verge’s Sean O’Kane said on the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask. “But they’re much simpler than that. They are just sunglasses, with a camera, that tie right in to your Snapchat app.”

That simplicity is the Spectacles’ killer feature, as O’Kane explained in his review of the glasses for The Verge. The only thing that makes them noticeable is a spinning light to tell people when they’re recording: A consciously cute design choice, he told Recode’s Peter Kafka and The Verge’s Lauren Goode, to get away from Google Glass’ sterile creep factor.

“They chose this much friendlier, sort of funny thing to watch that sort of [entices] you in, and brings you into the process instead,” O’Kane said.

So why, Goode asked, is a company known for its hit mobile app getting into hardware?

“I think it’s about control,” O’Kane said. “Snapchat is stalling out a bit in its user base, especially since it’s being straight-up looted for its best ideas by Facebook and Instagram. ... What’s the best way to keep people [taking pictures]? Control the camera.”

“I’m pretty certain they’re going to have other products,” Kafka added. “In the past we heard a rumor that they were going to work on a TV, which seemed ridiculous. Now, it doesn’t seem totally ridiculous.”

Have questions about the Snap Spectacles that we didn’t get to in this episode? Or have another tech topic on your mind? You can tweet any questions, comments and complaints to @Recode with the hashtag #TooEmbarrassed. You can also email your questions to TooEmbarrassed@recode.net, in case Twitter isn’t your thing.

Be sure to follow @LaurenGoode, @KaraSwisher and @Recode to be alerted when we're looking for questions about a specific topic.

You can listen to Too Embarrassed to Ask in the audio player above, or subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

If you like this show, you should also check out our other podcasts:

  • Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with the movers and shakers in tech and media every Monday. You can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
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If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara and Lauren. Tune in next Friday for another episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask!


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