Twitter Alternative Graysky Launches as First Third-Party App for Mobile Users
Bluesky, the Jack Dorsey-backed Twitter alternative, is getting its first third-party app for mobile users: a new app called Graysky. Though numerous Bluesky projects built on the company’s API are already in the works or in testing, Graysky will be the first to ship to the App Store, where it’s now available for preorder with an October 21 launch date. It will also arrive on Android. The app promises an improved Bluesky experience with additional features like support for GIFs, inline translation, an easy way to view everyone’s likes, a feeds-first layout, hashtag support and more.
Built by London-based software engineer Samuel Newman (@mozzius.dev on Bluesky), the idea to create a Bluesky client was not initially driven by an interest in the company’s decentralized networking protocol, the AT Protocol, which will eventually allow Bluesky to operate more like Mastodon where people can set up their own servers that interconnect.
Rather, explains Newman, Bluesky was appealing because it’s simply a better Twitter.
His excitement over the new social network prompted him to start building a third-party client as a fun side project. But he then realized that Bluesky was lacking support for various features that his app could support. For example, Bluesky hadn’t yet rolled out support for viewing your own likes at the time, so that was an early focus for Graysky and one that gained it a following as users clamored for early access.
Though Bluesky has now shipped support for likes on users’ profiles, Graysky aims to stay a step ahead of the official app by supporting features that Bluesky does not. For example, Graysky lets you see everyone’s likes, not just your own — similar to Twitter/X. It will also support the ability to send GIFs powered by Tenor that are backward compatible with the official app, and supports inline translation within threads.
A New User Interface for Custom Feeds
To differentiate itself from Bluesky beyond feature set alone, Graysky sports a unique user interface where instead of landing you on your home timeline (or skyline, in Bluesky lingo), the main tab will direct you to your set of feeds.
One of the key differentiators between Bluesky and Twitter/X is its support for algorithmic choice through custom feeds. That means instead of being defaulted to an algorithmic “For You” timeline, Bluesky users can subscribe to custom feeds that the company or other developers have created that filter the posts across the network in any number of ways.
In Graysky, you start by hopping directly into the feed of your choice from its main tab. And if you’re looking for more feeds to follow, a discovery interface lets you browse all the feeds others have built.
Additional Features to Come
The app’s current feature set is somewhat limited, but there are big plans ahead. Future updates will include support for drafts, bookmarks, automatically generated alt text, muted words, polls, notifications, more home feed preferences, better content filters, tagging posts with language or content warnings, and lists — a much-requested feature that allows users to curate groups of people.
Graysky was largely built by Samuel Newman with assistance from Bluesky users @alice.bsky.sh (Alice) @holden.bsky.social (Holden Foreman) and @matthewstanciu.com. The app is now available for preorder on the App Store, with an Android version coming soon.
While the app will be free to use without in-app purchases initially, a subscription service priced at ~£3.99 per month ($5 USD) is planned for polls and a post analytics service that shows how your posts perform over time with graphs. In the meantime, you can support development by sponsoring Newman on GitHub.