Glass app trumps Instagram by bringing its photo-sharing network to iPad

Instagram's move away from its photographic core has left a spot open for enthusiast-friendly photo-sharing apps like Glass – and now that new contender has brought its glossy, magazine-like experience to iPad.

Glass 2.0 is now available for iPads running iPadOS 14.0 or later, although you'll still need to pay the monthly £4.49 / $ 4.99 or £24.99 / $ 29.99 annual subscription to access it. There's a two-week free trial to give you a taster, though.

As we discovered in our exclusive interview with the makers of Glass, this membership fee is partly a result of the developers' decision to forego venture capital investment, with the aim being to create a sustainable community.

Given what's happened to Instagram, and many other pretenders to its photographic throne, this seems a wise move – and the arrival of an iPad app in particular supports the idea of a photo-centric sharing space. 

The larger screen gives you a better view of painstakingly-crafted shots, and many photographers use iPads anyway as part of their in-the-field editing workflow thanks to apps like Lightroom. Strangely, Instagram has never launched a dedicated iPad app and, last year, said that one is unlikely to arrive anytime soon.

Since its launch six months ago, Glass has added new features including categories and 'appreciations' for liking photos, but there's no algorithm running behind it to organize your feed. Instead, you get the chronological feed that Instagram has hinted will be returning to its app in 2022.

The Glass team will also be launching a web-based version of its app, to rival the likes of Flickr, with a beta version expected to arrive in March or April.


Analysis: A pricey but polished Instagram alternative 

The Glass app on iPad

(Image credit: Glass)

Our early experience with the Glass iPad app is that it's a little buggy, with the app having a tendency to crash on our iPad Air. But we're sure these wrinkles will be ironed out and the app certainly has potential on the bigger screen of Apple's tablets.

Sadly, there's no Android version in the works just yet, with Glass' maker stating that its focus is currently on launching Glass for Web over the next few months. But if you're an iOS fan and photographer, the free trial is certainly worth a spin.

There is currently a gap between Instagram – which we've previously argued is broken for photographers – and veteran platforms like Flickr, which is big on community but lacks the polish of Glass.

There's no doubt the £4.49 / $ 4.99 monthly or £24.99 / $ 29.99 subscription fee is pretty high and could be off-putting for anyone who's bank balance is currently enduring death by a thousand subscriptions.

But the flip-side is that the ad-free Glass is being developed by a small team of photography enthusiasts who are keen to avoid the bloat and e-commerce traps that have lured Instagram away from its photographic heritage.

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Microsoft Edge is bringing back a classic feature, but with a modern twist

Microsoft is trialling new functionality for web browser Edge that expands upon the RSS-style Followable Web feature, which landed recently in early-access.

As part of an A/B testing process, the company is rolling out a new YouTube integration to a small pool of Microsoft Edge users, who will be able to follow their favorite creators with the press of a button.

The YouTube follow button will appear on the right side of the URL bar for trial participants. Clicking the button will provide information about the channel (e.g. subscriber numbers, total videos), a feed of the most recent videos and the opportunity to become a follower.

The feature appears to differ from the native YouTube subscription functionality, instead serving up content to Edge users via the Collections pane, as part of Microsoft’s recent RSS push.

RSS comeback

Developed in 1999, RSS (an acronym for Really Simple Syndication) was once one of the most popular ways of keeping track of news and other content published to the web. But its reign was relatively short-lived.

By creating a new avenue for sharing and discovering web content, the rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter effectively put an end to the heyday of RSS. Other algorithm-based services like Google News also provided an alternative model for serving up content to web users.

However, as the problems with the algorithm-based approach to content discovery come to light (misinformation, echo chambers etc.), there are plenty of people looking for a way to exercise greater control over the information they are presented with.

Currently, many of these people make do with free RSS readers, a large proportion of which are developed on a shoe-string budget. But now, major web browsers like Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome are beginning to offer RSS functionality built-in.

Although RSS services have allowed users to follow YouTube creators for a while, Microsoft appears to be aiming at an altogether richer experience, whereby people are provided with contextual information about a channel as well as being notified when a new video lands.

The feature remains in early access for now, but depending on the outcome of testing may be rolled out as part of a full public build later in the year.

Via Windows Latest

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Microsoft Edge is bringing back a classic feature – and you should absolutely use it

Microsoft is attempting to bring back the RSS feed with a new feature for its web browser Edge, called Followable Web.

Currently available to members of the Edge Canary early access channel, the feature allows users to “follow” websites in order to receive a curated list of the latest updates.

The sites the user follows are shown in a panel on the side of the browser, but to see all of the followed sites, users will have to navigate to the Collections menu.

The rollout is gradual, even for Microsoft Edge Canary users, so don't fret if you're not seeing the feature in your app. Those interested in giving the test version of Edge a go can download it here.

RSS making a comeback?

Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, was once one of the most popular ways of keeping track of websites. Through the use of RSS readers, people were able to curate the newest content from their favorite places on the web with ease. But the reign of RSS was short-lived.

By creating a new avenue for sharing and discovering web content, the rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter effectively put an end to the heyday of RSS. The algorithm-based methodology of Google News and Microsoft News also provided an alternative model for providing users with fresh content.

However, as the problems with the algorithm-based approach to content discovery come to light (misinformation, echo chambers etc.), there are plenty of people looking for a way to exercise greater control over the information they are served.

Now, it would seem, RSS is ready to come back into the limelight, with the new Followable Web feature for Edge. And Microsoft is not the only software giant working on an RSS feed feature for its browser, either; Google is also developing similar functionality for Chrome.

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