Bluesky scoops up the developer of popular third-party app, Graysky

Decentralized Twitter/X rival Bluesky is adding to its ranks by scooping up a member of its developer community. London-based software engineer Samuel Newman, who built the well-received third-party Bluesky client Graysky, is joining the startup, where he will now help develop Bluesky’s official app along with the rest of the front-end team.

Given his change in position, the future of the Graysky app is uncertain. Newman says he will continue to keep the app alive and maintained for the time being, but will no longer add any “ambitious new features,” as he’ll be putting his efforts into “making the official app the best it can be.”

However, he’s also accepting inquiries from other developers who may be interested in taking over the Graysky app, which could be a promising venture for someone if Bluesky ever scales to become a sizable competitor to Twitter/X, Threads and Mastodon. Since launching publicly last month after an extended private beta, Bluesky now has 5.18 million registered users, roughly half of which are actively posting on the platform.

What made Graysky unique — beyond being one of the first third-party apps for Bluesky, and the first to address both iOS and Android users — was its forward-thinking nature. The app improved on the default Bluesky experience by adding support for features the official client had lacked, including GIFs, inline translation, an easy way to see everyone’s likes, a feeds-first layout, support for hashtags and more. Late last year, Graysky also added Trending Topics and a Pro subscription to help the app monetize. As of the end of 2023, Graysky had topped 20,000 downloads and was working to add other Twitter-like features, including drafts, bookmarks, muted words, polls, lists and more.

With Newman now joining Bluesky, the hope is that the official client will also gain support for more features. The developer said he wouldn’t be able to bring everything from Graysky to Bluesky but would do his best to “port some of the good parts.” Specifically, he said he would like to work on an iPad app.

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