In 2021 Glass launched to rival Instagram, and since then the playing field has changed. Users have grown disillusioned with what Meta's photo-sharing platform is, with videos and user-interface features alienating many.
However, Glass has been on the rise, with many ways to access the platform, regardless of its price of entry at $4.99 / £4.49 a month, or a yearly $29.99 / £24.99 subscription on Apple's App Store for now.
A year on, TechRadar spoke to one of the co-founders Tom Watson once again, to reflect on how far Glass has come, and what could be next on the horizon for its users.
Co-founders look back a year on
We asked Watson if there was anything that had surprised him in what users were using Glass for. "Not a lot of surprising behavior — members are leaving platforms that aren't serving them anymore and joining ones that are. We feel really fortunate to be in a position to care about our members." Watson explains.
"As our annual renewals emails went out over the last month, we've been hearing directly from so many members who have improved their own photography practice." Watson reflects. "One member told us something that really sums up the magic that can happen on Glass — "Shooting for yourself, and a community of people who care about photography, versus shooting what an algorithm may like that week has changed my relationship to photography for the better. I feel like I've fallen in love with photography again."
Instagram to Glass
Instagram has been struggling in recent times, with unwelcome changes making the company revert back some features, such as a full-screen view when viewing content, and more videos appearing on feeds than photos. We asked Watson whether these controversies have encouraged some users to move over to Glass.
"Instagram continuing to deprioritize photography helps us — there's no denying that. But this isn't new. It's been happening for years now. To be clear, we've never been about trying to get a photographer to delete their Instagram account." Watson clarifies.
"Instagram is a great shopping app, a hit-or-miss marketing channel (if you like dancing on camera or not), and a way to keep in touch with friends. We're trying to help folks understand that their second Instagram account, the one that has all their film photos or polaroids or that they set up for their photo business, isn't serving them anymore." Watson explains. "And that there's something calmer, more sincere, and earnest available to them."
Windows and Android next?
Much has happened with Glass - an iPad version is available, alongside being able to access your account on the web. We asked Watson what could be next to draw in new users.
"Our first year was prolific! We launched platform improvements regularly. And we expanded beyond our iOS app — Glass for iPad came in February, Glass for Web rolled out in April, and we just added account creation to Web with Glass Anywhere." Watson explains.
"Opening up outside of the Apple Ecosystem and letting anyone create an account is a huge deal for us. We're slowly working towards apps in the Google Play and Windows Stores." Watson reveals. "In addition to that, we've still got more platform improvements coming. Our next batch of features will be around search and discovery, making it even easier to find your community on Glass."
The road to accessibility
Finally, accessibility is something that can be hard to find in other social media apps. We asked Watson whether Glass will take advantage of the upcoming accessibility features that iOS 16 and Android 13 offer.
"Every year, it's like we get a batch of presents from Apple and this year is no different. All of the latest features in iOS 16 are really exciting. We're still exploring exactly how we'll be integrating them into Glass over the coming months." Watson explains.
"But two things that we want to try to do a better job of addressing in our second year are Accessibility and Affordability. We understand that membership fees can be barriers to entry. Affordability is easier to address — like how we're currently running a launch promo for Glass Anywhere to get your first year for $20." Watson clarifies. "Improving our Accessibility features takes more time, but we're excited to have the opportunity to put in the work."