Colin
Devroe

Glass observations – an update

One year ago I wrote Glass observations, a post wherein I wrote about the state of sharing photos on the web, and what I thought about the photo sharing app Glass. This morning I read that post anew to see if my opinion still stands – it does. So if you missed it and were wondering what I think of the app, read that post.

This morning, Antonio Carusone, of Aisle One, tweeted a short review of Glass and I responded. But I wanted to put my response here.

Agree. Plus, with no free tier the network effect will never happen on Glass. Which is fine – but result is a paid public Facebook Group.

The only place photographers should focus on sharing their photos is their own website.

For fun, share elsewhere. But focus on site.

This description; a paid public Facebook Group is close to a good description of Glass. The Glass founders do not like Facebook so I apologize to them for the comparison. A paid public community of photographers is not a bad thing! However, a Facebook Group has one advantage – yet again – over Glass – the network! Facebook Groups can get huge and reach a diversified user base. Time will tell if Glass will ever burst out of their current bubble.

I don’t know if Glass will last. It already seems to be on shaky ground but it could be I’m not seeing the whole picture.

Their pricing is odd; if you pay monthly you are paying $60/year. If you pay yearly you pay half that. Pretty substantial savings. Now, if you sign up on the web (assuming for a limited time), you pay 33% less than that! If you see discounts that usually means they need sign ups. Again, I could be reading this totally wrong and their team simply decided to run a promotion. Or, it could be that if people sign up on the web they are cutting out Apple and are able to pass the savings onto their customer. But still, go to from $60/year to $20/year is a huge difference in the first year.

They recently opened up signup to beyond iOS with an offering they call Glass Anywhere. Photographers that primarily use Android can now sign up using their email address in a web browser. For $20/year I think this is a great offering if someone needs a place to put their photos and show them off.

In my post in August 2021, and in my tweet this morning, I made a point to call on photographers to focus on their own website for publishing their photos. If you share your photos anywhere else; Glass (perhaps to get feedback from other photographers), Instagram (to get noticed), Flickr (to archive and also for community feedback) – just know that the only place you can almost guarantee will be around tomorrow is your own website.

I’m at a point now in my life that I hope there is never ‘the next Instagram’. We, the entire planet but specifically photographers, are better off without the lure of the network only to give up our rights, privacy, photo quality, and increasingly our minds.

I hope Glass succeeds. It is a beautifully and technically excellent iOS and web application and I hope it continues to be a place that some subset of photographers feel calm, safe, and welcome to share their photos with other photographers. I just don’t think I’ll be one of them. I’ll be right here at my website.

    @cdevroe There has been some chatter about a free tier that would let people view and comment (hello spam) but not post. I wouldn’t mind allowing people to view on a free tier coz that’s what the web is all about but not anything more (Appreciations maybe but fine if it’s not even that).

    @pratik This sounds interesting. Perhaps if the app didn’t even make you sign up to browse.. and if the web version allowed you to browse and explore a bit more than it does. Could be nice!

    @cdevroe Currently, I think if you enable it, your profile can be accessed without signing in. Here’s mine for example. But you can’t comment or give “appreciation” on it which is fine by me. You do get a unique URL for each photo they can see so technically you can share a specific one directly. It would help if they made sharing (not downloading) easier via a share sheet on the desktop.

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