by Doug Bowen-Bailey
I recently had the chance to work with a young man who I interpreted for in Kindergarten and now is a successful young actor. Among other things, he was excited to talk about Glide, a new app that is taking off in the Deaf community. Many of you, or your students, may already be aware of this app, but I thought it was one worth sharing.
Glide is available for both iOS devices (iPhone or iPad) and Android. It is free and allows you to send a video message up to 5 minutes in length. In practice, it allows people to send short messages in ASL – in the same way that people can send text messages in English. What makes this particularly helpful is that the video does not take up space on your phone or tablet. Instead, the video is stored in the “cloud” and Glide users simply access those videos rather than having them fill up their phone’s memory. Currently, the app is free to both install and use. Long-term, I don’t know what the business model is that will allow it to be profitable, so the service may not be free forever.
Glide is an app that was developed in Israel. Although it was not specifically designed for the Deaf community, Glide has been well-received. Additionally, as a corporation, Glide has had specific marketing addressing ASL users. One of their employees has an ASL vlog. Going by the name of Sarah Glide, she is new learner of ASL, but uses a very culturally appropriate process of asking the Deaf community to chime in on what is the best way to sign Glide in ASL.
It’s a natural process for a language community to have to come to agreement about how to talk about any new thing that is encountered. Social media has allowed this process to be expedited. For Glide, there is a Facebook thread that illustrates this. Check it out here.
There are other video messaging apps such as Samba, Dumbstruck, and Giggle Mail. They all have the potential to send videos, though of more limited lengths and ones that you store on your phone, rather than in the cloud.
So, whether or not you end up using Glide, I think it is an app worth being aware of because of how it is being embraced by such a large segment of the Deaf community. In some ways, it is to texting what videophones have been to TTYs.