Glass, a subscription app for photographers, launches on iOS – TechCrunch

Instagram made headlines (together with this one) when product head Adam Mosseri mentioned in June that the app is “now not only a sq. photo-sharing app,” because it’s pivoting its focus to buying and video. However the place does that depart photographers who need a social photo-sharing expertise?

In line with Tom Watson, a former product designer at Fb and Pinterest, photographers have lacked a social community for some time. That’s why, with co-founder Stefan Borsje, Watson constructed Glass, a subscription-based iOS app designed to be a house for photographers.

“I’ve all the time liked pictures, and when Flickr received purchased by Yahoo, it was a tragic second for me. I really like that form of nerdy pictures neighborhood,” Watson informed TechCrunch. “You then began to see it decide up with Instagram to take the torch into the cell area. However I used to be at Fb when Fb bought Instagram, and you might form of see that it could inevitably be the place it’s as we speak.”

For these of us accustomed to free, ad-supported social media, it’d really feel unfamiliar to pay a month-to-month price for an app. Glass prices $4.99 a month (or $29.99 a yr) to make use of, however you’ll be able to attempt it with out cost for 14 days. Nonetheless, the app takes your App Retailer cost information instantly, so it may very well be a barrier to entry for individuals who fear they gained’t bear in mind to delete Glass earlier than the trial interval ends, ought to they not need to proceed with it. However this mannequin is intentional. Watson and Borsje are particularly attempting to construct their app — which solely has 5 staff members — with none enterprise funding or advert income. They solely need to should reply to their neighborhood of photographers.

“I wished to do one thing totally different and begin with a social subscription mannequin and to bootstrap with out enterprise capital,” mentioned Watson. “We’ve seen prior to now what occurs once you tackle enterprise capital and go for the moon. You retain pivoting away out of your photographer neighborhood with a purpose to grow to be extra broad.”

Picture Credit: Glass

From the second you open the Glass app, it’s clear that the emphasis is on the pictures itself. Whenever you comply with photographers, their posts will seem in a feed of photographs designed to reduce distractions. The photographs take up the complete display, and you may solely see who posted them in case you drag them to the appropriate. Whenever you click on on a picture, you’ll be able to see its caption and different details about how the {photograph} was shot. You possibly can have interaction socially by way of feedback, however there aren’t likes on photographs — that is an intentional design selection, although Watson says some customers are asking for a like button, even when it simply helps them bookmark photographs for later searching. Within the coming weeks, Glass will launch discovery options, like classes for images. Glass additionally has a suggestions board, which permits customers to request options and upvote or downvote different customers’ concepts. If Glass chooses to develop a suggestion, it’s famous as “in progress” on the board.

Although it’s solely in its starting phases, Glass already units itself other than Instagram or VSCO by providing EXIF information, which is like sweet for the “pictures nerds” that Glass hopes to draw. EXIF information exhibits what digital camera a photographer used, in addition to the picture’s ISO, aperture, shutter pace, and focal size. This information and sense of neighborhood was what drew individuals to Flickr in its early days, however when Yahoo gave free customers as much as one terrabyte of knowledge, it grew to become extra of a private archive than a neighborhood. Then, when SmugMug purchased Flickr from Yahoo in 2018, it tried to backpedal by solely permitting free customers to have 1000 photographs, warning that they may delete free customers’ photographs in the event that they didn’t improve to a paid plan.

Glass additionally appeals to photographers by permitting for a greater variety of picture sizes on the app — the utmost facet ratio is 16 x 9, which accommodates the scale of ordinary digital camera photographs. However on Instagram, even after the platform moved away from its sq. picture motif, it’s not potential to publish vertical images from most cameras with out cropping them. Like VSCO, Glass doesn’t present what number of followers every person has, although you’ll be able to see feedback. Whilst you can’t see what number of followers another person has, you’ll be able to see who’s following your personal account.

“We thought that was necessary for security. If somebody follows you, it is advisable know who that’s, and to have the ability to block them,” Watson mentioned. “We actually wished to construct blocking and reporting options from day one.”

Watson declined to share what number of customers have downloaded the app thus far, however Watson mentioned he’s “extraordinarily pleased with the response” to Glass. It launched with a waitlist in August, and Wednesday the app opened as much as all iOS customers. The objective of the waitlist wasn’t to generate hype, however fairly, to make it possible for the person expertise remained easy, and that the app wouldn’t get overloaded. On the time of the app’s waitlist launch in August, Watson informed TechCrunch that Glass was sending tons of of invitations out daily. 

“I’ve been on the web a very long time, and I used to really feel like there was a cozier, safer area,” Watson mentioned. “I hope that by having this subscription mannequin, these areas can really feel that method just a little bit extra once more.”

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