Instagram is the undisputed king of mobile photography, for better or for worse. And while there have been no shortage of competitors over the years, none have even come close to the popularity of OG IG, thanks in no small part to the power of the meta (nee Facebook) behind it.
However, the one I’ve been using most of the time since 2023 is Glass. It exists since August 2021 and describes itself as “a true community platform for photographers.” And so, it’s really good. It’s not for taking photos in the moment and spewing them out in real time – it’s for uploading and viewing only, the app has no camera capabilities. Nor does it have a habit of stealing features from Snapchat and TikTok, hence no Stories or Reels. And the photos are in much higher resolution than what you’ll find on Instagram.
There is no advertisement for this either. Or influential people. Or the public likes to count. It’s all the photos, all the time, with great features to search by category, member, camera or even individual lens, making it possible to easily find some notable rare shots. And Glass is available almost everywhere you want it, from phones and tablets (yes, the tablet experience is excellent, Instagram still hasn’t bothered about that), to Glass.Photo’s web browser.
These are some of the biggest differences between Glass and Instagram. The second – probably the biggest – is that you have to pay to post or actually follow anyone on Glass (for example, you can view individual accounts – here’s mine). And starting in 2024, the cost of membership is increasing slightly, from $30 per year to $40 per year. There’s also a “Patron” subscription that gives you early access to features that are being worked on, and three annual subscriptions to share with friends. This is increasing annually from $99 to $130.
If you sign up before December 31st, you can lock in those 2023 prices for another year. (And Glass is giving current members a $10 credit if they ask, which should at least ease the transition.)
Are any of these worth it? I guess it depends. If you’re a professional photographer, or a semi-professional who loves to see great things and share great things – or if you’re over the whole Instagram thing at this point, which is totally understandable – then this is it. Could.